AK-47: The Colombian guerrilla
4 December, 2005
Sergio Avendano (we have changed his name for security reasons), 34, was demobilised from the left-wing guerrilla group the Farc two years ago, having been a member for 11 years
After being in the guerrillas for a year I received an AK-47, and man, after a year, it was a real treat to obtain a weapon. The worst sanction you can submit a guerrilla to is to strip him of his weapon. The first time you consider that you are of use to the revolution is when your weapon is upgraded.
The first time I used my AK-47 was in an attack on the army within days of receiving my weapon.
The unit that we were in was small, with no more than 60 combatants dispersed across a very large area. So we didn't plan long fights because we had neither the ammunition nor men to fight for long, but instead deployed the classic strategy of Che Guevara's guerrilla, who "bites and runs away, bites and runs away".
On that occasion and all the subsequent times when you foresee there will be combat you feel a lot of fear. You know you will have to confront a superior enemy, in terms of men, ammunition and support. So one is always conscious that you may end up "staying there" for good.
In the middle of a confrontation you don't think that the enemy is a human being; that he has a family or that he will be missed. Confrontation is an act of survival - if I don't react the other will kill me.
Man turns into a beast and the enemy becomes an animal one needs to hunt. I haven't had a single nightmare - because the enemy doesn't think that I am a human being either.
There is no war where men do not die and as a commander it's a hard reality to know that a certain number of comrades will die. You must understand that the guerrilla has very strong ties of brotherhood among its men because one lives 24 hours a day among each other.
And even when one is victorious, there is never a fight without sacrifice.
In one fight the army made some grave errors and we managed to corner them between a river and ravine and it was a fight where the soldier was no further than three meters away. As we say over there, a fight of "moustache to moustache".
And it was scary to see the sparks of light as you sat there with the weapon held high above your head so as not to make a bull's eye out of yourself.
That was a very hard fight. We began fighting around 0400 and ended at night. And we managed to gain control of about three army units with a death toll of 86 men.
The next morning as we left the jungle I looked behind towards the site of combat - the jungle is the hardest place of combat. Your eyesight becomes accustomed to the monochromatic landscape of green and brown. It's so intense that when you leave the jungle you need to close your eyes because the sun is blinding.
Anyway, in the jungle a MGL [multiple grenade launcher] doesn't work because in order for it to be effective it needs to be fired at a long distance, and mortars can't go very far. So it really is a gun-on-gun battle. Here, the AK-47 is working at its topmost. Yes, in my time of war I really liked my AK a lot - I still do.
AK-47 is broadcast on BBC World Service's World Today programme every day from 4 to 8 December, 2005, at 0205 GMT.