FARC: The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP, or FARC) was the oldest left-wing militant group in Colombia. It was formed in 1964 by the Colombian Communist Party, as partisan violence escalated between the liberal and conservative parties and government policy discriminated against rural populations. Before demobilisation, the FARC had some 5,700 fighters and allegedly made USD 500–600 million profit from the illicit drug trade.? The FARC was active throughout the country, but especially in Arauca, Meta, Norte de Santander, Cauca, and Antioquia. Since peace talks between the FARC and the government began in 2012, the FARC had been withdrawing from territory and violence has fallen to record lows. The FARC ceased military activity in October 2016 and signed a peace deal with the Colombian government on 24 November 2016. The DDR process started at the end of 2016. The demobilisation process was completed on 17 February 2017, and disarmament on 27 June.?
FARC dissidents: Some units and members of the FARC broke off from the organisation at various stages of the peace process. An estimated 800-1,000 dissidents did not participate in the demobilisation. ? The Colombian military estimates that the dissident groups count 1,200 members. ? The FARC dissidents are decentralised, with a presence in the southwestern departments of Cauca and Nariño and in Chocó and Antioquia in the northwest, as well as in the departments of the Eastern Plains, and engage in drug trafficking and control of trade routes. ? The major dissident faction is the FARC's "First Front", which counts some 400 fighters and operates mainly in Guaviare and Meta departments. In mid-July, Colombian security forces captured 11 members of the "First Front" in Arauca.? A smaller number of dissidents, originating from the "8th Front", is active in Cauca department. Other dissidents formed criminal groups, aligned with the major post-demobilisation armed groups ("BACRIM"), for example in Tumaco, Nariño department. ? The FARC dissident group "Frente Oliver Sinisterra" is active in Nariño and across the border in Ecuador. The group has allegedly carried out various attacks in Ecuador in 2018, such as in San Lorenzo near the border with Colombia, where 28 people were injured in a car bomb attack on a police station on 27 January. ? On 31 October, the government authorised the targeting of FARC dissident groups with air strikes.? Various airstrikes against FARC dissident groups have since been conducted.?
ELN: The National Liberation Army is a left-wing militant group formed in 1965 and composed of an estimated 1,500 fighters.? In January 2015, ELN said it intended to join peace talks and would consider disarmament. After two years of informal discussion, peace talks with the government started on 7 February 2017. Although ELN members have increasingly demobilised and surrendered in 2015 and 2016, reported divisions in the group still resulted in many attacks.?The ELN is highly decentralised, as opposed to the FARC, and each group has its own hierarchy in the area where it operates.? The ELN has moved into territory from which the FARC has been withdrawing. ELN is predominantly active in Arauca, Norte de Santander, Nariño, Chocó, and Cauca departments.
EPL: The EPL is a dissident faction of the larger EPL group that demobilised in 1991. The EPL is present in Catatumbo, a region in Norte de Santander on the border with Venezuela, and has a high level of control over criminal activities in the region. It counts an estimated 200 fighters in its ranks.? As the FARC withdrew from the areas it controlled in Norte de Santander during the peace process, the EPL expanded its presence in these regions, such as in the municipalities of Abrego, El Tarra, Teorama, and Sardinata. ?
"BACRIM"/post-demobilisation armed groups: Criminal gangs (bandas criminals, or "BACRIM") – including the Urabeños, Black Eagles, and Erpac – are generally made up of former paramilitary fighters. They are involved in drug trafficking and extortion throughout Colombia, Venezuela, and Panama. These groups are present in 28 of Colombia's 32 departments. They are particularly active in the departments along the coasts, the borders with Venezuela and Ecuador, and the Eastern Plains (Llanos Orientales). ? The Urabeños (also called AGC - Gaitanist Self-Defense Forces of Colombia) was the largest illegal armed group in Colombia in 2017 and is led by former Medellin Cartel operative ''Otoniel''.?It has been consolidating its presence in areas vacated by the FARC, and has at times created alliances with FARC members, such as in Nariño or Putumayo departments. It controls Colombia's main ports, which are crucial to trafficking, including Buenaventura in Chocó, Barranquilla in Atlántico, and Cartagena in Bolívar.??The group grew from 250 members in 2008 to about 3,000 in 2016. Other reports estimate 7,000 members. ???
Government forces: The government’s strategies to combat non-state armed groups have been closely linked to eliminating the cultivation of illicit crops in the country, as they are one source of income for armed groups.