MS Risk Blog

Two-Dozen ELN Rebels Surrender Ahead of Peace Talks

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The military reported on 18 October that two-dozen fighters from the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels have surrendered voluntarily to the Colombian navy, in what is a sign that the group may be losing strength as it prepares to begin peace talks with the Colombian government.

In a statement, General Juan Pablo Rodriguez disclosed that the rebels from the Cimarron Resistance Front in the northwestern province of Choco handed over their firearms and munitions on 17 October. According to the statement, so far this year, 252 ELN members have demobilized, 388 have been captured and 46 have been killed in combat. Many rebels who demobilize do so individually, therefore making the surrender of a large group of fighters unusual.

Despite more than two years of on-and-off closed-door talks with the Colombian government, the 2,000-strong ELN has remained active, kidnapping and bombing oil installations.

The ELN is due to begin negotiations with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos on 27 October in a bid to end more than 52 years of war.

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