A joint military and police patrol was targeted by an explosive device while patrolling in Arauca department on the night (local time) of Saturday, March 23. Security officials said that blast occurred in Fortul municipality and wounded two members of the patrol. Authorities are blaming the ELN for the bombing. Further attacks are possible in Arauca in the near term.
A group of Colombian soldiers operating in Arauca department were ambushed by suspected ELN fights on March 7. An improvised explosive device (IED) wounded five soldiers while they were attempting to remove a vehicle that was blocking the road between Tame and Fortul.
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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