lunes, 2 de septiembre de 2013

Colombian army shoots, detains ELN guerrillas

Colombian troops shot dead on 1 September six suspected members of the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country's second guerrilla army in terms of size after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in the north-eastern department of Arauca; four guerrillas were said detained, El Colombiano reported. It was not immediately clear if this was part of the fighting also reported in Arauca in which between five and 10 ELN guerrillas were detained and identified as suspected participants in a recent attack by the FARC in Arauca that killed 14 soldiers. The ELN were thought to have helped the FARC then and the two forces were believed to be cooperating more generally in north-eastern Colombia. The head of the Army's Eighth Division based in Arauca, General Ricardo Gómez Nieto, told the broadcaster Caracol on 1 September that troops caught in the district of Fortul a man identified as deputy-head of the ELN's Compañero Tomás column, a guerrilla dubbed Toto or el Flaco, and four fighters aged between 14 and 16. These presumably were recruited forcibly, which is by no means exceptional in the two guerrilla armies. The general declared there was "no geographical part" of Colombia where arrests of guerrillas did not "evidence" the forcible recruitment of children or teenagers; "often the rifle is bigger than they are," he said. The teenagers were handed over to welfare authorities, Colprensa agency reported. The Defence Ministry reported separately on 1 September that the Army  had "neutralised" four FARC fighters in preceding "hours" in the southern department of Caquetá; two were killed, one was injured and one surrendered, the Ministry stated.