Colombia’s FARC rebels order definitive ceasefire

Timoleon Jimenez

Timoleon Jimenez

Colombia’s FARC rebel force ordered a definitive ceasefire late Sunday as part of an accord to end 52 years of conflict with the government.

“I order all our commanders and units and each one of our combatants to definitively cease fire and hostilities against the Colombian state from midnight tonight” (0500 GMT), top FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez told reporters.

The ceasefire is set to end a 52-year-old war between the Colombian state and rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Hundreds of thousands of Colombians have died since 1964 as rebel armies and gangs battled in the jungles in what is considered Latin America’s last major civil armed conflict.

“The end of the conflict has arrived!” President Juan Manuel Santos said on his Twitter account Friday, after signing a decree to halt military operations against the FARC.

The measure goes into effect five days after the conclusion of peace negotiations underway in Havana since November 2012.

The territorial and ideological conflict has drawn in various left- and right-wing armed groups and gangs.

Efforts to launch peace talks between the government and a smaller rebel group, the National Liberation Army, have yet to bear fruit.

The conflict has left some 260,000 dead, 45,000 missing and 6.9 million people uprooted from their homes.