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FARC disarmament to begin March 1: official

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Bogota (AFP)

Colombian FARC rebels will start their historic disarmament process March 1, the government said Tuesday, as the country implements its peace deal to end Latin America's last major armed conflict.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are due to disband with UN supervision under a peace deal with the government after 52 years of fighting.

FARC members will surrender 30 percent of their arms on March 1, General Javier Florez -- head of the military operation to demobilize and disarm the guerrillas -- told journalists.

Authorities will then collect another 30 percent of weapons on May 1, with the final disarmament date on June 1.

Where the arms will ultimately go remains undetermined, said Florez, who previously headed up the Omega joint military force tasked with fighting the FARC.

On Tuesday, delegates from the government, the FARC and the UN were to analyze logistics related to the peace agreement, which gives the rebels 180 days from December 1 to disarm.

Members of the FARC, Colombia's largest and oldest guerrilla group, last Saturday finished arriving at the country's 26 zones where they will disarm and eventually reenter civilian life.

According to the country's Office of the High Commissioner for Peace there are 6,934 armed guerrillas concentrated in the zones.

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