According to a leaked Colombian military intelligence report, commanders of the First Front, a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissident group, have been recruiting splinter groups and demobilized FARC fighters located predominantly in central and southwestern Colombia, hoping to revive the guerrilla group as the peace process proves unable to fully satisfy promises made to former FARC members. Local sources report that, as of July 2018, the group has recruited between 1300 and 4000 members since FARC signed a peace accord with the Colombian government in November 2016. Military intelligence has stated that the First Front arms and pays wages to new recruits, taking advantage of the government's failures to deliver on labor and education promises made during the demobilization process. However, the majority of FARC factions as well as FARC leadership publicly oppose the First Front's initiative. Meanwhile, FARC leaders are set to take their seats in Congress on Friday, July 20, as agreed under the peace deal.
An increase in ex-FARC dissident activity is possible in the near- to medium-term as the situation develops, especially in central and southwestern Colombia. Associated upticks in security operations are also possible.
A peace deal between FARC leadership and the Colombian government was ratified by the Colombian congress in November 2016, officially ending an armed conflict that killed more than 260,000 people over five decades. However, some dissident ex-FARC militants remain active, notably in the Colombian-Ecuadorian border region.
Individuals in or planning travel to Colombia are advised to keep abreast of the situation. Due to the presence of a number of armed groups - including drug cartels, right-wing militias, local gangs, and the ELN guerrilla group in addition to ex-FARC dissidents - Western governments generally advise against travel to various regions of the country, most notably most border areas on the frontiers with Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, and Panama.
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