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Colombia: Security forces and ELN inching towards ceasefire

Colombia’s security forces and ELN inching towards ceasefire


Guerrilla attacks reported until hours before cessation of attacks

by Adriaan Alsema,  July 6, 2023, published by Colombia Reports

The commanders of Colombia’s security forces and ELN guerrillas ordered a bilateral cessation of attacks ahead of a bilateral ceasefire.

Local media reported guerrilla attacks until hours before the order to end hostilities and assume defensive positions took force.

The order to end hostilities comes weeks before a formal and verified ceasefire on August 3.

The ELN leadership on Tuesday ordered their guerrillas to end attacks on the hour that was agreed with government representatives in ongoing peace talks.

President Gustavo Petro formally announced the signing of military order on Wednesday.

"The specific actions agreed between the parties are intended to generate conditions for the civilian population to exercise their rights and freedoms, as well as to avoid incidents that could jeopardize compliance with the ceasefire." 

-Decree 1117 of 2023

The bilateral four-week attack ban will not be monitored unlike the upcoming bilateral ceasefire.

Last-hour attack

The guerrilla reportedly carried out its last attack on the security forces less than four hours before the order to assume defensive positions took force.

According to the National Police, “uniformed officers of the Fortul Police station in Arauca were shot at with rifles for approximately 10 minutes, ”but able to “repel the attack.”

On Tuesday, a police sergeant and her two children went missing in the same rebel-controlled province.

"We urge the ELN to pronounce itself on this violation of international humanitarian law and, if responsible, to release these persons immediately."
-Peace Commissioner’s Office

ELN “committed” to peace talks

The ELN published its last public statement before the cessation of hostilities on the guerrillas’ 59th anniversary on Tuesday.

In this statement, the ELN said that “we are committed to peace talks and transformations, with the process for civic participation and, precisely because of this, with the Temporary National Bilateral Ceasefire agree with the government.”

"We encourage the people of the cities of Colombia to participate in the scenarios that are built in this peace process, because it is in the hands of the participation, organization, struggle and decision of the majorities to move towards a nation in peace and equity." 


The negotiations that seek and end to the armed conflict between the ELN and the State began under former President Juan Manuel Santos in 2018 and were suspended by former President Ivan Duque the next year.

Petro resumed the peace talks as part of his “Total Peace” policy, which includes talks with other illegal armed groups, after taking office last year.