miércoles, 8 de mayo de 2013

Army reports desertions from Colombia's ELN, FARC guerrillas

The army reported a total of 20 desertions from Colombia's two guerrilla forces the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in the days 4 to 6 or 7 May, the most recent defections being of seven ELN fighters and two from the FARC, the broadcaster Caracol reported on 7 May. The ELN guerrillas - four of them aged between 14 and 17 years - surrendered to the army in the district of Bagadó in the west-coast department of Chocó, handing over assault rifles and ammunition; the three adults among them were identified as junior chiefs and an operator of the ELN's radio station, Occidente Rebelde. The two FARC fighters surrendered in the district of Vigía del Fuerte in the northern department of Antioquia. Authorities attributed the desertions to military "harrassment" of guerrillas and to the alleged mistreatment of the guerrilla rank-and-file by superiors. The ELN separately issued a communiqué stating conditions to hasten the release of a Canadian hostage held since 18 January, Jernoc Wobert, Caracol radio reported on 8 May. The ELN urged the government to revoke mining concessions given to firms in the south of the department of Bolívar, northern Colombia, and restore "these Titles to their legitimate owners, who are the traditional miners in that zone." The communiqué stated that five were killed on 22 April when the ELN fought a gun battle with a "paramilitary group" trying to rescue Wobert in the district of Montecristo in southern Bolívar, Caracol reported.

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