On January 29, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced that negotiations with the National Liberation Army (Ejército Nacional de Liberación – ELN), had broken down following the recent bombings of three police stations on the Pacific Coast.
The attacks are part of a new wave of violence that has erupted since the expiration of the temporary ceasefire that ended on January 9th this year. The President stated that the attacks have eroded the “patience of the Colombian people,” and that the negotiations cannot be resumed until the guerrilla organisation “makes its behaviour compatible with the demands for peace of the Colombian people and the international community.”
The ELN claimed responsibility for the bombing of a police station in Barranquilla that left five police officers dead and 41 injured. Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas, said that the authorities also suspect that the ELN is responsible for two additional attacks on police stations in both Soledad and Bolívar. The ELN themselves released a statement in response to the President, confirming that, “as long as the two parties do not agree to a new ceasefire, military actions will continue on both sides.”
Until negotiations can be resumed both Santos and Defense Minister Villegas have both called on Colombia’s army to intensifying military actions against the ELN.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding the timescale of if and when negotiations will resume is adding to the current rising crime levels in the region, making the need for a professional and experienced security company in Colombia more necessary than ever before.