Colombia’s Last Rebel Group Begins Truce

Colombia’s Last Rebel Group Begins Truce
Colombia’s Last Rebel Group Begins Truce

After a half-century of armed struggle, the Colombian armed forces and the country’s last guerrilla group, the ELN, began on Sunday a historic, if possibly temporary truce.

The initial ceasefire between the National Liberation Army rebels and government forces, which began at midnight Saturday, is set to extend until January 9, France 24 reported.

The truce is the most important achievement yet from peace talks carried out since February by negotiators for the rebels and the Colombian government of President Juan Manuel Santos in Quito, Ecuador, aimed at ending the longest armed conflict in the Americas.

“Starting at this moment, and as our Commander Nicolas Rodriguez said, the ELN will fully implement the bilateral ceasefire,” the rebel group wrote on Twitter just after midnight Saturday.

Rodriguez earlier ordered his troops to “cease all types of offensive activities to fully comply with the bilateral ceasefire” starting at 0501 GMT Sunday.

The Colombian armed forces were also ordered to suspend operations against the guerrillas at the same time.

The larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas reached a peace deal with the Santos government last year.

According to DW, Observers from the United Nations, assisted on the ground by the Roman Catholic Church, will monitor the ceasefire’s implementation.

The FARC and ELN formed in 1964 to fight for land rights and safeguard rural communities. Decades of conflict involving the two rebel movements, the Colombian army and right-wing paramilitary groups have left more than 260,000 dead, displaced 6 million people and led to the disappearance of tens of thousands.

The ELN is considered a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.

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