According to authorities, 34 military personnel are in captivity in southern Colombia

ELN rebels

According to information, the group has been under the control of FARC dissidents since Friday following an operation against environmental crimes.

The authorities had previously stated that two investigators from the Colombian Attorney General’s Office had been kidnapped by the FARC splinter group EMC. The investigators and a companion have been held since Friday in a rural area of ​​the municipality of Santander de Quilichao in the southwestern district of Cauca and are “in good health,” the EMC said.

For six decades, Colombia has suffered from armed conflict between the state and left-wing guerrilla groups, right-wing paramilitaries and drug smugglers. In 2016, the largest guerrilla organization FARC signed a peace agreement with the government. However, the EMC and several other FARC splinter groups rejected the peace agreement. Left-leaning President Gustavo Petro took office in 2022 with the goal of bringing “complete peace” to the country. Since then, peace talks have been held with the EMC and the rebel organization National Liberation Army (ELN).

No progress in the peace process

However, the peace process has recently suffered some setbacks. Human rights organizations accuse the rebel groups, which are also linked to the drug trade, of exploiting the ceasefire to expand their power, take control of larger areas and recruit new members.

In March, the Colombian government partially suspended a ceasefire with the EMC. The Ministry of Defense justified the decision with armed attacks by the group, in which, among other things, an indigenous woman was killed. Because of the EMC’s “non-compliance with the ceasefire,” the military will resume “offensive actions” against their fighters in the Nariño, Cauca and Valle del Cauca regions, it said.

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