ELN guerrillas end ‘armed strike’ after being accused of violating truce

ELN guerrillas end armed strike after being accused of violating

In Colombia, the far-left guerrillas of the ELN (National Liberation Army) have decided to suspend a “ armed strike » which it has imposed in the west of the country for several days. The rebels have been accused of violating the truce negotiated with the government as part of ongoing peace talks.

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The ELN had imposed this “ indefinite armed strike ” last Saturday. This resulted in the banning of all activity and travel in areas of the Choco department, controlled by the guerrillas. Colombian. The rebels had justified this measure, allegedly to “ preserve the life and integrity of the non-combatant population », by the presence of paramilitary groups supported by the authorities. This “ armed strike », decreed despite the bilateral ceasefire in force since August, forced thousands of peasants to remain cloistered in their homes.

But they perhaps did not expect such strong reactions: the government and the Church, therefore two major players in the peace negotiations, accused the ELN of not respecting the truce which has just been extended until in August 2024. The Peace Commissioner, Otty Patiño, who is leading negotiations with the guerrillas for the government, questioned the desire for dialogue of the ELN and the central staff (EMC), is the main dissidence of the Farc which rejects the peace agreement signed in 2016 with this Marxist guerrilla. For his part, Mario de Jesus Alvarez, the bishop of Istmina, located in Choco, lamented on a local radio “ a lack of loyalty to the agreements of the sixth round of negotiations in Havana », leading to the extension of the truce.

According to the press, the authorities can no longer stand the attitude of the guerrillas, who continue to carry out violent actions. The Minister of the Interior is already raising the possibility of army intervention in the Choco department. In any case, the persistent violence in the departments of Cauca and Choco is considerably slowing down the ambition of President Gustavo Petro who wanted to conclude complete peace during his mandate.

(And with AFP)