At least two police officers were wounded in an attack by suspected militants targeting police forces in the La Perla neighborhood of Tibú municipality (Norte de Santander) on Saturday, August 15. According to media sources, the police were attacked whilst patrolling the area during curfew hours. Militants threw grenades and then fired at police officers. The wounded personnel were transferred to a local medical facility. Reports suggest that the same perpetrators also targeted a police watchtower with grenades.
The incident has not yet been attributed to any group and security forces are conducting search operations to locate those responsible. National Liberation Army (ELN) and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissidents are known to operate in the region. A heightened security presence is likely in the area in the near term, and further militant attacks on security personnel are possible.
A peace deal between FARC leadership and the Colombian government was ratified by the Colombian congress in November 2016, officially ending an armed conflict that killed more than 260,000 people over five decades. However, some dissident ex-FARC militants remain active, notably in the Colombian-Ecuadorian border region. The left-wing guerilla group ELN and right-wing militant groups are also responsible for violent acts across Colombia, particularly in the border regions. The armed conflict is fuelled by drug trafficking and both left-wing guerrilla groups and right-wing paramilitary groups have close links to the drugs trade.
Those in the area are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate a heightened security presence, and adhere to all advice issued by the local authorities.
Individuals in or planning travel to Colombia are advised to keep abreast of the situation. 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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