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Colombian victim of the armed conflict Yulisa Mosquera (centre) performs during the Victus II Memory theater project, in Bogota on May 11, 2017. — AFP picColombian victim of the armed conflict Yulisa Mosquera (centre) performs during the Victus II Memory theater project, in Bogota on May 11, 2017. — AFP picBOGOTA, May 16 — Former enemies and victims of Colombia’s civil war take to the stage together this week in a theater show telling of their suffering in the half-century conflict.

Victus II: La Memoria brings 17 former guerrillas, paramilitaries, state military personnel and civilians face to face on stage at a theater in Bogota.

Side by side, they act out their experiences from the long, grinding conflict with songs and dance.

“What we have learned here is how to talk to one another,” said Raul Estupinan, who was injured by a landmine and dances in the show on a prosthetic leg.

“We have learned to say: ‘What do you think? Well, this is what I think. Now, let’s find some common ground,’” he told AFP.

“That is what Victus is really about.”

Yulisa Mosquera, 37, was kidnapped, tortured and sexually abused by paramilitaries. Now she is acting alongside members of that group.

“At first it was very painful to meet women who had been part of the group that had abused me. It was hard to understand their reasons and put myself in their shoes,” she says.

But art has soothed her pain.

“We need Colombia to know the truth,” she said.

“But we also need to reconcile with one another.”

The first of five performances of the show for the general public takes place today at the Casa E theater in Bogota.

It was devised last year as the government and leftist FARC rebels prepared a historic peace accord.

As the FARC disarms and the government seeks a peace accord with the last active rebel group, the ELN, Colombians are trying to move on.

“Art and education are the key to the post-conflict era,” says the show’s director Alejandra Borrero.

“I am sure of that.” — AFP

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