A suspected vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated in Hacarí municipality of Norte de Santander department on Monday, July 8, wounding one soldier. The incident occurred near a house in the Alto Monte area and the car bomb is believed to have been placed by the ELN.
Earlier in the day, suspected ELN fighters also threw four grenades at the Prosecutor’s Office in Ocaña municipality in Norte de Santander. Further clashes between ELN militants and security forces are possible in the region 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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