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Colombian army kills ELN rebel ten days before peace talks

Left-wing rebel group National Liberation Army (ELN) have been at war with the Colombian government since 1964. Photograph: (Getty)

AFP Bogot? - Bogota, Colombia Oct 18, 2016, 02.13 AM (IST)

The Colombian army killed one National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel and captured four others just ten days before the government and the insurgent group are scheduled to hold peace talks. 

The public order and financial wings of the ELN in the northeastern department of Casanare were targeted, the army said on Monday. 

Out of the four captured rebels, three were commanders, one of whom was wounded, AFP reported.  

In a separate operation, 24 rebels from the western department of Choco were "demobilised" (taken out of active service), the Colombian defence ministry said in a tweet.

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(Translation: 24 Front demobilised in Choco and surrendered their weapons and equipment quartermaster.)

The ELN did not comment on the latest attack, but this could roil the peace talks which will take place on October 27 in Ecuador's capital of Quito. 

However, Carlos Medina, a political analyst at Colombia's National University, said the latest attack will not endanger the peace deal but stressed on the need to have a ceasefire in order to reduce tensions between the government and the rebels. 

The government has a ceasefire deal with FARC but no such agreement has been signed with the ELN. 

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has been trying to end the 52-year old conflict with Colombia's two largest insurgent groups — the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ELN. 

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts but has since struggled to restore peace in the country, especially after Colombian voters said 'no' to the peace deal with FARC as they felt the deal allowed rebels to go scot-free for atrocities they caused.

(WION with inputs from AFP)


 

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