Colombia: ELN rebels claim attack wounding 13 police

i24NEWS - Reuters

3 min read
Security personnel inspect a national police truck destroyed by an explosive device in Cali, Colombia, on January 8, 2022.
PAOLA MAFLA / AFPSecurity personnel inspect a national police truck destroyed by an explosive device in Cali, Colombia, on January 8, 2022.

The ELN - founded by extremist Roman Catholic priests - is in a five-decade-long conflict with the government

Colombia’s leftist rebel National Liberation Army (ELN) claimed responsibility for an attack on Friday in the western city of Cali, which wounded more than a dozen police officers. 

Operatives of ELN carried out the bombing directed at members of the riot-control unit ESMAD while traveling in a vehicle.

"Our units carried out an operation against ESMAD... in the city of Cali," the ELN said in a statement published on a website belonging to its so-called urban front.

Both the ELN and national police confirmed that 13 officers were wounded in the bombing, with some being seriously hurt. 

No deaths were reported, according to Reuters.

The attack drew condemnation from Colombia’s government and the police, with President Ivan Duque calling it an attempt by the rebels to influence presidential elections later this year.

"Colombia does not and will not bend to terrorism and our government will never reward terrorists," Duque said on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/i/web/status/1479783560668225541 ...

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Almost $250,000 will be rewarded to anyone with information on the leader of ELN and almost $90,000 for details of those who planned and executed the attack, Colombia's top police official Gen. Jorge Vargas announced.

The ELN - founded by extremist Roman Catholic priests - reportedly has 2,350 combatants and is in a five-decade-long conflict with the Colombian government.

Peace talks between the two bodies were suspended after a rebel bombing killed 22 police cadets in 2019.