The four "children and adolescents" belonging to the Murui community were "executed" in the Colombian Amazon region, the Colombian ombudsman for human rights said on Sunday. They had previously left the FARC dissident group Front Carolina Ramírez. No information was initially given about the age of the dead.
The front belongs to the rebel group Estado Mayor Central and had agreed to a bilateral ceasefire proposed by the government at the beginning of the year. The four regions in which President Petro has now suspended the ceasefire are strongholds of FARC dissidents.
The human rights ombudsman explained on Sunday that the recruitment and killing of young indigenous people were "obvious violations of human rights". The "recruitment and murder of children and young people from indigenous communities" is "not a gesture of goodwill to achieve peace".
The Estado Mayor Central criticized Petro's decision. The unilateral breakup "will trigger a war and multiply the number of dead, injured and prisoners," the group said in a statement sent to the media.
For more than half a century, Colombia has suffered armed conflicts between the state and numerous left-wing guerrilla groups, right-wing paramilitaries and drug smugglers. In 2016, the largest Colombian guerrilla organization, FARC, signed a peace agreement with the government - which the FARC's dissidents reject. Since the peace agreement, the group Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army, ELN), founded in 1964, has been the strongest remaining rebel organization in Colombia.
On New Year's Eve 2022, President Petro - himself a former guerrilla - announced that he had agreed a six-month ceasefire with the country's five largest armed groups, including ELN and FARC dissidents. However, the ELN days later denied the existence of the ceasefire - after which the Colombian government suspended it, facing the group.
In mid-May, after the failure of a third round of talks in Havana, Cuba, Petro called on the ELN to call for a regional ceasefire. The original idea of a nationwide ceasefire was "complex, difficult, very unstable and very dangerous," he said, suggesting a regional ceasefire.