Colombia’s President Says Ammunition And Grenades Missing From Military Bases

Colombia’s president last Tuesday revealed that hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition along with other items have gone missing from two military bases.

In an April 30 statement, President Gustavo Petro said an inspection conducted in April found that the military bases were missing thousands of grenades, hundreds of thousands of ammo rounds, and 37 anti-tank missiles.

The material, allegedly stolen from a military base in the central part of the country and another near the coast, could be in the hands of one or more of the country’s rebel groups or may have been illegally sold overseas to other criminal organizations such as the violent gangs in Haiti, according to President Petro.

Petro suggested that the only possible explanation for the missing material was that there was a network of criminals within the Colombian military that was involved in illegal arms trafficking.

The president said the inspections of bases would continue to “separate the armed forces from any type of criminal organization.”

The inspections come as fighting in the southwest region of the country resumed against the rebel group FARC-EMC, which broke from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia after it reached a peace deal with the Columbian government eight years ago.

Further peace talks between the government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) broke down in 2019 after the group set off a car bomb at the Bogota police academy killing 20 cadets.

After taking office in 2022, Petro launched peace talks with the remaining rebel groups in Colombia. Although fighting between rebels and government forces decreased in some parts of the country, opponents of Petro’s administration claim that the rebel groups have continued to kidnap and extort civilians, arguing that the ceasefires established in the peace talks only allowed the rebels time to strengthen their positions and exert more influence in local communities.