One Colombian soldier was killed, 22 others were injured and two United Nations lorries were burned down Thursday after National Liberation Army (ELN) and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissidents attacked three military bases in the northern region.
Private Faider Martínez was hit by an explosive launched at dawn against the base at Chiriguaná, in the department of Cesar. The shrapnel from the artifact injured another officer who was taken to a medical center, while the 14th infantry battalion in Aguachica, also in Cesar, was attacked with grenades, leaving 20 soldiers injured, two of them seriously.
Another soldier was injured at the 15th battalion in Ocaña, Norte de Santander, after an explosive device was launched against that unit.
Colombia's Army said the attacks were perpetrated by the (ELN). President Iván Duque has warned the group he would not allow any firther intimidations. They want to play a role in these elections, either to intimidate and to try to encourage the next government to come to their knees. That is not going to happen, Duque warned, as he once again demanded the extradition from Cuba of the heads of that organization who were part of the peace talks with his predecessor, Juan Manual Santos.
I also ask the Cuban government the question: why are they silent when the ELN claims responsibility for these events, knowing that several members of the Central Command are in Havana? Keeping silent in the face of this is also an unfriendly gesture with Colombia, Duque stressed.
In a separate event, armed men stopped a caravan made up of members of the United Nations Observation Mission, the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (CNR) and burned down two of the three vehicles, after allowing their occupants to get off, due to which no one was injured, the UN confirmed in a statement. This attack took place while the humanitarian group was going to the rural population of Guayabero, in the department of San José del Guaviare (south).
The UN Verification Mission -which reports directly to Secretary General Antonio Guterres- reiterates its concern about the persistence of acts of violence in priority areas for the implementation of the Peace Agreement and condemns any attempt to intimidate illegal armed groups against the work of the UN and humanitarian organizations, the UN statement read.
No group has claimed responsibility for these actions but Colombian Government sources said FARC dissidents were behind it.