01182019What's Hot:

A Colombian Rebel Group Resumes Attacks After Cease-Fire Ends

“The ELN is disconnected from the electoral reality,” said Jairo Libreros, a professor at the Externado University in Colombia who follows the group. “They think that through acts of violence, society will rise up to call that the government signs a peace deal.”

The attacks appeared to be typical for guerrillas: a midnight raid on a military base in the eastern department of Arauca, in which commandos threw a grenade at soldiers guarding a post, injuring several them. Near the town of Aguazul, about 100 miles from Bogotá, the capital, another group bombed an oil pipeline, the government said.

The guerrillas defended their decision to resume attacks. The main purpose of the cease-fire, “to improve the humanitarian situation of the population, was hardly achieved by the regime,” they said in a statement. “We delivered on the objectives.”

The guerrillas said the attacks on Wednesday had “occurred in the middle of a complex situation of conflict in the country.” It called on the government to resume talks but did not offer another cease-fire.

Few in Colombia believed the recent cease-fire would last. Announced in late August ahead of a visit by Pope Francis, it was seen as a temporary concession by both sides to the pontiff who had come to promote an end to the country’s multiple conflicts.

Mr. Libreros said the agreement had been violated at least twice; late last year, a massacre by the guerrillas killed more than a dozen people, including an indigenous leader.

The ELN, founded in 1964, has seen its presence dwindle in Colombia in recent years amid desertions and government-led attacks. Some analysts estimate that their force is now as small as 1,000 fighters.

With the FARC peace deal, however, the ELN became the largest remaining rebel group in Colombia and tried to take on the mantle as leader of Marxist struggle in the country.

Its insistence to keep fighting reduces hope that a peace agreement is on the horizon even if talks resume, said Camilo González Posso, the director of the Institute for Development and Peace Studies, a Bogotá-based group.

“In the government there are sectors that think it’s a waste because it won’t result in anything,” Mr. González said. “And in the ELN they believe the government won’t follow through and that it’s losing ground with cease-fires.”

Source: NYT > World

comments powered by HyperComments

More on the topic