Wed, 07 Jun 2023

Bogota [Colombia], March 30 (ANI): As many as nine soldiers were killed in an attack carried out by the Colombian rebel group known as the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas on an army base in northeast Colombia, in a blow to the government's efforts to negotiate a truce with armed groups and curb violence in the country, Colombia Reports reported citing the military.

Another nine soldiers were injured in the attack that took place in the rural part of El Carmen, a municipality in the Catatumbo region. The alleged ELN unit attacked the base around 3 am (local time) on Wednesday, Colombia reported citing the army's press release.

National Army commander General Luis Mauricio Ospina visited Norte de Santander province to inspect the situation in the guerrilla stronghold. Norte de Santander Governor Silvano Serrano said that the killed soldiers were deployed in Norte de Santander to protect the oil infrastructure in the region, as per the Colombia Reports report.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro condemned the guerrilla attack on soldiers. In a tweet, Gustavo Petro stated that the ELN is "totally alienated from peace and the people." As per the news report, Gustavo Petro's administration is negotiating a ceasefire with the guerrilla group.

Earlier this month, negotiators of Colombia's government and guerrilla group ELN presented a revised peace talks agenda. The revised agenda includes the possibility of an early ceasefire, according to Colombia Reports.

The "Mexico Accord" is a revised version of the peace talks agenda initially agreed upon between the guerrillas and former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in 2017, as per the news report.

In addition to the ceasefire clause, the revised agreement includes a commitment to revise Colombia's socio-economic policies. It also includes a clause that describes the future of people who were imprisoned due to their participation in anti-government protests in 2021.

The new agenda also seeks agreement on the "eradication of all forms of paramilitarism." The two parties maintained the agreement to involve non-government organizations in the formulation of an eventual peace deal, as per the news report.

Colombian government representative Dayana Domico said that the two parties agreed to gradually step up the implementation of humanitarian accords that at one point during the negotiations would permit a ceasefire. This cessation of hostilities would initially be temporary. However, it will be the implementation with an aim to come to a permanent ceasefire deal. (ANI)

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