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BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's Marxist FARC rebel group said on Wednesday it has handed in 30 percent of its weaponry to the United Nations, part of a peace deal signed with the government last year to end more than 52 years of war.
The government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas recently extended the deadline for the arms hand-over, after logistical delays slowed the arrival of some of the group's 7,000 fighters to special demobilization zones.
"Thirty percent of our arms are in the hands of the United Nations," FARC leader Rodrigo Londono, known by his nom de guerre Timochenko, said on Twitter. "This is the effective start of our farewell to arms."
Another 30 percent of weaponry will be handed in on June 14 and the remaining 40 percent on June 20, the expiry date of the hand-over extension with the government, the FARC said.
Under the accord, rejected in a public referendum but pushed through by congress, the FARC will become a political party and most fighters will receive amnesty.
Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta and Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Lisa Shumaker