Still image of rebel commander named Ancizar in Caqueta province (Photo : Handout . / Reuters)
A court of Nasa Indians convicted members of Colombia's FARC Rebel group for disrupting the harmony of the community.
The court, which consisted of about 1,000 elders and residents of the Nasa reserves in the province of Cauca, sentenced the four FARC members to flogging, one of which was a minor. The three adults were subject to 30 lashes while the minor got hit only five times. He was originally sentenced for 10 whips, but was unable to endure the pain. The whipping was done to the lower half of the men's bodies, which ultimately led to injuries in the back of their legs.
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The four were captured by the Nasa Indigenous Guard on Wednesday in the mountains near Toribio. The rebels were carrying rifles and explosives at the time of capture.
The trial was recognized as legal by the 1991 Colombian constitutions and took place at a high school in Toribio. The court took three hours to deliberate before deciding what punishment to inflict on the men. According to Fox News, punishment by the Nasa is usually conducted on the "cepo," a wooden structure that presses the legs and hands. It is a temporary burial where only the head is above ground.
The FARC, Colombia's largest rebel contingency, have been battling in the Cauca region with government forces since the beginning of July. The fighting has forced over 2,800 indigenous and mestizo people out of their homes.
The Nasa are one of many Colombian indigenous groups to proclaim their neutrality in the internal armed conflict between the FARC and Colombian republic. The group has demanded that both sides leave them alone.
FARC has been at battle with the Colombian government for almost five decades. The rebels' goal is to setup a leftist regime in the country in order to redistribute land more equitably among its underprivileged population.
Throughout the years, the organization has obtained a negative reputation throughout the world due to its hostile kidnappings of civilians, politicians, and officers; extortion; and attacks on security forces. Additionally, FARC has been accused of using money generated from drug trafficking to fund its operations.