According to the Colombian National Police on Tuesday, October 9, the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) group plans to increase attacks in the Magdalena Medio region (inclusive of parts of the departments of Antioquia, Bolívar, Boyacá, Caldas, Cesar, Cundinamarca, Magdalena, and Santander) over the coming days. The Colombian National Police is expected to deploy a heightened security presence in the Magdalena Medio region in the near-term in response to the threat.
The ELN - one of the country's last remaining rebel groups following the demobilization of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) - is believed to have around 1500 fighters in Colombia. Tensions between the ELN and the government have been building since August, when Colombian President Ivan Duque suspended peace negotiations with the group. Magdalena Medio is viewed as an important corridor to the ELN for the transport of arms and drugs. However, the ELN is not the only armed group in the area and the possibility of renewed conflict between guerrilla groups cannot be ruled out. In 2018 so far, the ELN have targeted oil pipelines and police stations in bombing attacks, although other targets and methods cannot be ruled out.
Individuals in or planning travel to Colombia are advised to keep abreast of the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments. Due to the presence of a number of armed groups - including drug cartels, right-wing militias, local gangs, and the ELN guerrilla group in addition to ex-FARC dissidents - Western governments generally advise against travel to various regions of the country, most notably most border areas on the frontiers with Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, and Panama.
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