BOGOTA ( Associated Press) – Colombia’s guerrilla Army of National Liberation announced Monday a unilateral ceasefire that would begin Dec. 24 and end Jan. 2, but did not specify whether it would end the captivity of more than 9,800 people in Choco. will do it. , in the west of the country
The announcement is made within the framework of peace talks tabled with the Colombian government which was reactivated in November after a suspension of more than three years. The ELN, founded in 1964, is considered the last active guerrilla in Colombia and has a presence in more than 200 municipalities throughout the country, with a block structure that answers to a central command.
Six armed guerrillas wearing ELN flag armbands were accompanied by a woman who was reading a statement from “the mountains of Colombia” announcing a unilateral ceasefire for the celebration of Christmas. The video was disclosed in the local media and later confirmed by the government.
“The ELN has listened to the community that supports total peace and that calls for a reduction of the conflict,” the interior minister, Alfonso Prada, said in an official statement celebrating the declaration of the ceasefire.
Carlos Ruiz Macieu, head of the UN verification mission in Colombia and designated to engage in talks with the ELN, also welcomed the announcement. “I am confident that it will contribute to alleviating the suffering of communities and improving the human condition,” he said in a Twitter message.
In the recording, the ELN clarified that the unilateral termination referred only to the armed forces, as the guerrillas vie for control of other armed groups in the country that are usually strategic for illicit income such as drug trafficking. “We reserve the right to defend ourselves if attacked,” he warned.
The ceasefire announcement did not specify when an armed strike – under threat of restrictions on mobility – that the ELN has maintained since Friday in Choco and will affect about 9,800 people in the municipalities of Isthmina, Medio San Juan, Sipi and Novita . End. , as the Ombudsman warned in a statement.
The Minister of the Interior indicated that he would activate a humanitarian care plan in Choco and its neighboring Valle del Cauca, which would supply food to the limited population.