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Members of Colombian Paramilitaries Disarm


The last large bloc of Colombian paramilitaries has begun demobilizing, in an operation expected to be complete by Friday.

Colombian authorities say some 2,000 fighters have laid down their arms in the past day, surrendering more than 600 firearms and 40,000 rounds of ammunition. The office of the high commissioner for peace also said the paramilitaries - who were based in the northern departments of Atlantico, Magdalena, and Cesar - turned over nearly a dozen vehicles.

The operation started on Wednesday brings the number of demobilized paramilitary fighters to about 25,000. The paramilitaries agreed to the demobilization in a 2002 peace agreement.

The paramilitary forces sided with the Colombian government in a civil war in Colombia that has lasted more than four decades. The government is still negotiating for peace with armed separatist groups.