Colombia police seize grenades, dozens of guns belonging to dissidents

By Luis Jaime Acosta

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's national police said on Monday they confiscated an arsenal of weapons, including guns, grenades and a machine gun belonging to dissidents from the now-disbanded FARC rebel group.

Though the Estado Mayor Central dissidents have rejected the 2016 peace deal signed by the FARC, they agreed to a recent ceasefire with the government of leftist President Gustavo Petro, who has promised to make peace or surrender deals with Colombia's armed groups.

The arsenal of 33 guns, a M-60 machine gun, grenades, more than 30,000 bullets and uniforms was being transported in two vehicles found abandoned in Narino province, in southwestern Colombia.

"The confiscated arsenal constitutes one of the most important blows in recent years," national police director General Henry Armando Sanabria told journalists. "With this we avoid the strengthening of an armed group."

The guns, made in the United States, Israel and Russia, were used and it remained to be established if they had been purchased on the black market or stolen from the military during attacks, Sanabria said.

It was up to the government to decide if the movement of the arsenal constitutes a violation of the dissidents' ceasefire with the government, he added.

Colombia's police seized 15,572 weapons during 2022. A Reuters investigation last year showed that Mexican drug cartels which buy cocaine from Colombia's varied armed groups sometimes trade high-powered weapons for shipments of drugs.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Alistair Bell)