Rebel group should cease violence, Colombian archbishop says

.- Archbishop Ruben Salazar of Bogota, head of the Colombian bishops' conference, insisted that the local rebel group FARC put an end to the decades-long civil conflict in the country.

“Let them lay down their weapons” and “stop with the excuses,” the archbishop told reporters on Feb. 6.

In a statement issued on Feb. 7, the FARC attempted to justify its latest attack which left seven people dead on Feb. 2 by saying its members are “defenders” of the people. It blamed the killings on Colombian soldiers who it claims “use the people as their shields” and therefore “forced” the rebel group to strike back.

Archbishop Salazar voiced confidence in his remarks to the press on the measures being taken by President Juan Manuel Santos, who met with the bishops this week during their plenary assembly.

“We need to believe in President Santos and that the FARC could at some point take steps towards peace,” he said.

On the rebel group's latest statement, Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba, secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, said Colombians should not accept another drop of blood to fall upon the country.

Bishop Cordoba said both the FARC and the Colombian army should review their military objectives to keep from harming the civilian population which opposes the violence.


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