Colombia official says 2 rebel groups balk at peace deal

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A Colombian official said Friday that two units of the country's largest guerrilla army implicated in drug smuggling are balking at plans for them to disarm — raising possible problems for a peace treaty the government is negotiating with rebel leaders.
The news came as the United Nations confirmed that production of coca, which is used to make cocaine, had surged 39 percent over the past year.
Inspector General Alejandro Ordonez said the 1st and 7th Fronts of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia are refusing to demobilize. His agency said the two have about 800 members and are deeply involved in illegal mining and drug trafficking.
Ordonez's office is independent of the president and he has been a critic of the peace talks that are nearing a finish in Cuba.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reported Friday that coca production grew faster in 2015 than in any year since 2007 as rebels scrambled to step up harvests ahead of the peace deal. Colombia produced more coca than Peru and Bolivia together last year, according to Office on Drugs and Crime representative Bo Mathiasen.
President Juan Manuel Santos recently warned that rebels who reject a peace deal will wind up "in a grave or in a prison."
Experts say that while most rebels may be willing to embrace a new way of life, the demobilization could open the way for smaller criminal bands, and groups of holdouts, to take over the drug cultivation and illegal mining the guerrillas have long practiced in the Colombian jungle.



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