Militants kill 9 troopers in assault on Colombia’s navy

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BOGOTA, Colombia — Militants in Colombia killed 9 troopers and wounded 9 others in an assault early Wednesday on a navy unit securing a northern pipeline, officers mentioned, complicating efforts by the nation’s new leftist president to barter an enduring peace.

The assailants attacked with long-range weapons and improvised explosive gadgets in El Carmen, in Norte de Santander state close to the Venezuelan border, and the navy’s preliminary evaluation was that the attackers have been from the Nationwide Liberation Military, or ELN.

It might be the deadliest assault by the guerrillas since their resumption in November of peace negotiations with the federal government, and the violence undermines efforts by President Gustavo Petro to carry “complete peace” to the nation of fifty million folks.

Petro condemned the assault, and mentioned in a tweet that those that carried it out have been “completely removed from peace and the folks.” He mentioned seven of these killed have been troopers doing obligatory navy service and that two have been officers.

The president referred to as for consultations with authorities negotiators and worldwide companions within the peace course of with the guerrillas. “A peace course of should be critical and accountable with Colombian society,” Petro mentioned.

Some rural areas of Colombia are nonetheless below the grip of drug gangs and insurgent teams regardless of a historic peace deal in 2016 with the bigger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The 9 troopers wounded in Wednesday’s assault have been taken to hospitals within the Norte de Santander capital of Cúcuta.

The commander of Colombia’s navy, Maj. Gen. Helder Giraldo, mentioned the unit was attacked whereas securing the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline of state oil firm Ecopetrol, and was not concerned in offensive operations. Ecopetrol amenities have confronted frequent assault by ELN forces prior to now.

Giraldo mentioned the navy would proceed operations within the space in opposition to the ELN and would file complaints over the “critical violation of human rights and worldwide humanitarian legislation.”

Based in 1964 and initially impressed by the Cuban revolution, the ELN now has round 2,000 to 4,000 troops in Colombia and neighboring Venezuela. Human human rights teams have reported that the group runs drug trafficking routes and unlawful gold mines.

ELN assaults have scuttled peace talks prior to now. In 2019 a automobile bombing claimed by ELN that killed 22 folks at a police faculty in Bogota led the federal government of then-President Iván Duque to droop all dialogue.

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