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BOGOTA (Reuters) - Armed gunmen this week killed six former fighters from Colombia's FARC rebels, the now-demobilized group said, reiterating its fears about attacks targeting former guerrillas.
Thousands of members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels handed in their weapons under a peace deal signed with the government last year to end more than 53 years of war. The group is now a political party.
Sunday's killings took place in the restive southwestern province of Narino, where criminal gangs, the smaller ELN rebel group and FARC dissidents who refused to demobilize are competing to control valuable territory for the cultivation of coca, the base ingredient in cocaine.
"We stand in solidarity with the families of our six comrades who were cowardly murdered in cold blood," the FARC said in a statement.
The armed groups trying to take over territory in the area have no ideological aims, the FARC said on its website, but are stoking violence for economic gain.
Former rebel leaders have repeatedly raised concerns that former guerrillas may be assassinated by right-wing paramilitary gangs or drug traffickers, in a replay of about 5,000 targeted killings during the 1980s, when the group first attempted to found a political party.
(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)