A FORMER member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), accused of forcing over 500 abortions on female fighters in the guerrilla outfit, has been arrested in Madrid.
The arrest of Hector Arboleda Albeidis Buitrago, known as “The Nurse”, follows an announcement by Colombia’s attorney general Eduardo Montealegre that an investigation would be launched into allegations from 150 former female rebels that they were forced to terminate their pregnancies.
Spanish police have declined to elaborate further on the arrest but reiterated Colombian claims that the abortions were chiefly carried out between 1998 and 2000 during a key period in the conflict between Farc and the government.
Farc has previously denied the allegations and stated that contraceptives were widely available to their female members. Colombian authorities have said the testimonies indicate incidences of rape, late-stage abortions and the involvement of under-age girls.
The leftist rebel group has fought a brutal five decades long insurgency against the Colombian state, in a wider environment of civil strife that has also seen right-wing paramilitaries, drug cartels and security forces embroiled in violence which has killed over 200,000 people.
Peace talks launched in Cuba is 2012 have seen progress, however, and a full settlement is expected in 2016.