BOGOTA, Colombia — Militants in Colombia killed 9 troopers and wounded 9 others in an assault early Wednesday on a army unit securing a northern pipeline, officers stated, complicating efforts by the nation’s new leftist president to barter a long-lasting peace.
The assailants attacked with long-range weapons and improvised explosive gadgets in El Carmen, in Norte de Santander state close to the Venezuelan border, and the army’s preliminary evaluation was that the attackers have been from the Nationwide Liberation Military, or ELN.
It will be the deadliest assault by the guerrillas since their resumption in November of peace negotiations with the federal government, and the violence undermines efforts by President Gustavo Petro to deliver “complete peace” to the nation of fifty million folks.
Petro condemned the assault, and stated in a tweet that those that carried it out have been “completely removed from peace and the folks.” He stated seven of these killed have been troopers doing obligatory army service and that two have been officers.
The president referred to as for consultations with authorities negotiators and worldwide companions within the peace course of with the guerrillas. “A peace course of should be critical and accountable with Colombian society,” Petro stated.
Otty Patiño, head of the federal government’s peace delegation, stated in a press release that he would ask Petro to make a ceasefire a situation for civil society to take part within the peace course of.
Along with the assault, Patiño stated, the ELN has been rising harassing civilians within the departments of Cauca, Arauca, Chocó and Nariño, partaking in a “flagrant violation of the norms of Worldwide humanitarian regulation that they declare to abide by.”
Some rural areas of Colombia are nonetheless underneath the grip of drug gangs and insurgent teams regardless of the federal government’s peace deal in 2016 with the bigger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
Camilo González Posso, president of the Colombian nongovernmental group Institute for Growth and Peace Research (Indepaz), referred to as the assault “an incredible political mistake by the ELN,” provided that the group beforehand has indicated an openness towards negotiating with Petro’s administration.
“On the desk it says that the scenario has modified in terms of a progressive authorities, and on the bottom it assaults,” Posso stated.
The 9 troopers wounded in Wednesday’s assault have been taken to hospitals within the Norte de Santander capital of Cúcuta.
The commander of Colombia’s army, Maj. Gen. Helder Giraldo, stated the unit was attacked whereas securing the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline of state oil firm Ecopetrol and was not concerned in offensive operations. Ecopetrol services have confronted frequent assault by ELN forces previously.
Giraldo stated the army would proceed operations within the space in opposition to the ELN and would file complaints over the “critical violation of human rights and worldwide humanitarian regulation.”
Based in 1964 and initially impressed by the Cuban revolution, the ELN now has round 2,000 to 4,000 troops in Colombia and neighboring Venezuela. Human human rights teams have reported that the group runs drug trafficking routes and unlawful gold mines.
ELN assaults have scuttled peace talks previously. In 2019 a automotive bombing claimed by ELN that killed 22 folks at a police college in Bogota led the federal government of then-President Iván Duque to droop all dialogue.