Colombia govt and ELN rebels resume hostilities as ceasefire ends

Elias Hubbard
January 13, 2018

Violence erupted across Colombia following the end of a temporary ceasefire with the country's largest active guerrilla group, casting doubt over the future of ongoing peace negotiations amid concerns that the rebels used the break in fighting to strengthen themselves. Within hours, the rebels blew up the national oil pipeline near the border with Venezuela and threw a grenade at soldiers. The negotiating teams are in Quito, Ecuador, which is hosting the talks.

The ministry said on Twitter that the nation's military has been ordered to resume operations against rebels "with full intensity and force". "But peace comes with a will and concrete acts of peace, not just words", said Santos.

At least two other attacks were reported shortly after the ceasefire ended. Members expressed regret at the ELN attacks and said they hope the government and rebel group will resume work on renewing and strengthening the ceasefire.

He said Wednesday's attacks occurred in "complex situations" of war and that the group maintained its intention to negotiate a new ceasefire.

His trip was announced Wednesday as the Security Council was meeting to discuss the United Nations mission in Colombia monitoring the 2016 cease-fire agreement that ended more than a half century of conflict between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the largest rebel group known as the FARC. The ELN has said it will not extend the truce under the original terms and wants a new deal.

"We're seeking a response from the government to see if it's interested in finding a way out of this incident".

In the agreement between the two sides three months ago, the rebels agreed to stop their attacks while the government promised to improve the conditions of the rebels that are in jail.

After the signing of the Peace Agreement in Colombia in November 2016, after some four years of talks in the Cuban capital, the United Nations Security Council approved a mission to verify the ceasefire and the delivery of weapons.

The FARC has launched a political party called the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force that will field candidates in upcoming parliamentary elections in March.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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