BOGOTA – At least 10 guerillas from the National Liberation Army (ELN) were killed and three others were captured as part of a military operation in the northwestern province of Antioquia, Colombia’s defense ministry said on Tuesday.
“Congratulations to the Colombian National Army and Air Force for their bombing operation, which neutralized 13 members of the ELN, with 10 killed and three captured carrying weapons of war,” the ministry said on Twitter.
The ELN unit targeted in the operation is “responsible for hundreds of forced displacements” in Antioquia’s Bajo Cauca region and for “attacks against high voltage towers” in the Caribbean province of Cordoba, the ministry said.
The operation was launched Monday afternoon with an airstrike, followed by the arrival of airborne troops.
Early accounts suggest that the military located an ELN camp in the small village of Bejuquillo that was apparently preparing to host a gathering of rebel commanders.
Gen. Alberto Jose Mejia, the commander of Colombia’s armed forces, said the “objectives of the operation were 13 guerillas and 13 were neutralized.”
Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas told the press that “195 ELN members have been neutralized so far this year,” including “74 who surrendered voluntarily, 87 who were captured and 34 who were killed in military operations.”