Eleven Soldiers Killed in ELN Attack

By Dialogo
May 24, 2013

Eleven Colombian Soldiers were killed and six other injured in a bombing perpetrated by National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas, in a rural area of Norte de Santander department, located in the north east of Colombia on the border with Venezuela, authorities reported on May 22.

“The Soldiers were attacked on Tuesday [May 21] evening in an indiscriminate way with improvised explosive devices (IED),” a statement said, adding that the “six injured officers were taken to hospitals in the area.”

On April 14, in La Esmeralda village, in Arauca department (on the border with Venezuela), three soldiers died in an attack attributed to the ELN, an insurgency that in recent years has focused its attacks on the oil sector.

The rebel organization has stated its willingness to join the peace talks that are being conducted since last year by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Santos’ government in Cuba.

The Colombian president has manifested that the ELN’s eventual inclusion in the peace negotiations would be subject to the liberation of a Canadian engineer, who is being held hostage by this group since January.

Moreover, the guerrillas have demanded the Braewal Mining multinational company to cease its mining activity in the northern area of the country, in order to release the Canadian engineer Jernoc Wobert, age 47.

The Colombian armed conflict, in which paramilitary and drug trafficking organizations have also participated, has left over 3.7 million displaced people, 600,000 dead, and 15,000 missing persons in over 50 years.