A group of Colombian soldiers operating in Arauca province were ambushed by suspected ELN fights on Thursday, March 7. According to local reports, the militants blocked the road between Tame and Fortul with a truck. When the soldiers moved into the area to remove the vehicle, an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated. Military officials confirmed that five soldiers were wounded in the blast. Further attacks are possible in Arauca in the near term.
Peace talks between the government and the ELN, which has conducted an ongoing armed insurgency since the 1960s, were put on hold after President Ivan Duque assumed power in 2018. President Duque has previously said he will only resume negotiations with the ELN once the group ceases all attacks and releases all hostages.
Due to the presence of a number of armed groups - including organized crime groups, drug cartels, right-wing militias, and local gangs, in addition to the ELN - some Western governments advise against travel to various parts of the country, including the Venezuelan border region.
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