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Thousands of illegal weapons melted down

(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Colombian troops melted a massive collection of some 40,800 illegal weapons on Tuesday (December 4), one of the biggest weapon melts to take place in the South American country for years. The majority of the weapons, which included grenade launchers, machine guns and revolvers, were confiscated during the first half of 2012 from the FARC, ELN and paramilitary groups. Officials said the large-scale destruction sent a blow to criminal organisations by depleting weapon stocks in the country, and highlighted the government's efforts to crack down on illegal activity in a nation that has been plagued by violence for decades. Due to the large volume, it is estimated that it will take about four days to melt all of the weapons in a plant in Sogamoso, a city in the Boyaca department about 220 kilometres (137 miles) from Bogota. The steel and iron obtained from the melt will then be used in Colombian infrastructure, ranging from hospital foundations to school columns, according to organisers of the melt.

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