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Published On: Sun, Oct 1st, 2017

Colombia’s ELN orders ceasefire starting October 1

nsnbc : Colombia’s leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) ordered the implementation of their part of a bilateral ceasefire between the guerrilla and the State starting on Sunday, October 1, 2017 and running through January 2018.

ELN_Colombia_Ocotober 2017_ELN ceasefireELN commander Nicolas Rodriguez a.k.a. Gabino, on Friday, has instructed guerrilla of the National Liberation Army (ELN) to begin implementing their part of the bilateral ceasefire on October 1.

The ceasefire aims to minimize the humanitarian impact of the civil war and to deescalate the still ongoing civil war during peace talks between the Colombian State and the ELN in Quito, Ecuador.

In a video released by te ELN (see below) Rodriguez said “It wasn’t easy to reach this agreement but finally we achieved it. Since talks began with Santos’s government we have insisted on the urgency of this ceasefire because it stops offensive actions and brings important humanitarian relief to the Colombian population.”

The parties agreed on the ceasefire on September 4. The ELN has pledged to suspend hostage taking, attacks on roads, oil installations and other vital infrastructure,  the use of landmines and the recruitment of minors. In turn, the government agreed to improve protection for community leaders and conditions for about 450 jailed rebels.

President Juan Manuel Santos, for his part, said on Friday “Colombians, we must never stop seeking peace. I hope this temporary ceasefire … can be extended and become the first step to peace with the ELN.”

The center-right Santos signed a peace agreement with the larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) in late 2016 after negotiations in Cuba that lasted four years. The FARC has since then been transformed into a non-militant political party but ex-president Alvaro Uribe and his Democratic Center party are calling for a referendum to abolish the peace process.

The ELN was founded in 1964 by a group of Catholic priests. Inspired in part by the Cuban revolution and extreme repression in Colombia, its revolutionary philosophy, politics and organizational forms are rooted in liberation theology, Marxism, and to some degree in Anarchio-Syndicalism.

CH/L & A/N  – nsnbc 01.10.2017

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