Conflicts & War

Colombia’s ELN rebels deny responsibility for military base car bombing

Bogotá, Jun 17 (EFE).- The National Liberation Army (ELN) denied responsibility Thursday for a car bombing against a Colombian military base in Cúcuta, which left 36 injured.

“No unit of the National Liberation Army has to do with the attack which took place on Tuesday June 15 at the 30th brigade in the city of Cucuta,” the rebels said in a brief message.

On Tuesday, a white vehicle loaded with explosives entered the military base of the city on the border with Venezuela with two men who impersonated officials. Two explosions occurred shortly after, Defense Minister Diego Molano said.

Thirty six people were injured, including three civilians.

Molano pointed the finger at the ELN, although he also said the possibility that the bombing was perpetrated by FARC dissidents operating in that area was being investigated.

The attack resembled one committed on Jan. 17, 2019 by the ELN, also with a car bomb, against the General Santander National Police Academy in Bogotá, in which 22 cadets died and 67 others were injured.

The Colombian government seems to have taken steps towards possible new contact with the ELN, after the former high commissioner for peace Miguel Ceballos said on May 11 that it would be willing to suspend extradition orders on the heads of the rebel group who remain in Cuba, if the peace process begins.

The new process is conditional on the group releasing its hostages and ceasing the recruitment of minors.

The bilateral relations of Colombia and Cuba are troubled after the island’s refusal to extradite four members of the ELN in Havana after failed peace talks with the previous government in 2017 and 2018. EFE


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