Colombia: Rebels Target Oil Pipelines After Ceasefire Ends

ELN rebels have started their attacks on oil pipelines and authorities just hours after the ceasefire ended. The attacks come after the end of an agreement between the government and the rebels.

The recent attacks threaten to end the peace negotiations between the group and the government. The two sides were planning to have talks in Ecuador next week but it looks like that will be cancelled.

Santos said that he had recalled his chief negotiator back to the country. It was not confirmed if the decision was made over the attacks and if the talks are now over. The government said that the rebels attacked the pipeline with three bombs. The government said the attack led to the suspension of operations.

Santos said they were always willing to continue the ceasefire and added that the ELN decided not to. He finished by saying that he had ordered the return of the negotiator to evaluate the future of talks.

At least two other attacks were reported shortly after the ceasefire ended. One of them happened at one of Ecopetrol’s facilities. The other attack happened at a naval base in the Arauca department. Two soldiers were injured in the attack.

The two sides agreed to a ceasefire three months ago but it ended just hours ago. The ceasefire did not continue as reports say the rebels want a new deal with the government. The negotiator representing the rebels said the group had followed the ceasefire and that the two sides had agreed to evaluate a new deal after the first one was over.

The attacks threaten future negotiations for peace but the negotiator of the group said the attacks happened in complex situations of war. He added that they’re seeking a response from the government to see if it is interested in finding a way out of this incident. The negotiator said that they will remain in Ecuador if there is a positive response.

In the agreement between the two sides three months ago, the rebels agreed to stop their attacks while the government promised to improve the conditions of the rebels that are in jail.

In late 2016, the government and Farc signed a peace deal. Before the deal, the group was the biggest in Colombia. They recently relaunched as a political party and plan to run in this year’s presidential election.