FARC rebels seek talks after flareups

AFP-JIJI

Colombia’s FARC rebels on Friday said they were committed to peace talks with the government amid rising tensions and renewed clashes involving Latin America’s longest-running insurgency.

The conflict flared up over the week, with four soldiers and five rebels killed in separate clashes even while the leftist guerrillas and the government resumed peace talks in Havana after a six-day break. These were the first combat casualties for the military since the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia ended a two-month unilateral ceasefire on Jan. 20.

The FARC’s lead negotiator blamed the fighting on the government, saying it had ordered new offensives. The government had rejected the idea of a ceasefire from the start, portraying it as a regrouping tactic.