Colombia ELN rebels call for three day curfew

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 Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group said it would hold a three-day «armed strike» beginning Wednesday to protest against President Ivan Duque’s social and economic policies, a move the government called an attempt to sow fear.

So-called armed strikes, enforced by rebels in areas where they operate, include restrictions on transport, curfews and shuttering of businesses.

«Against Duque and his bad government the National Liberation Army decrees an armed strike in all national territory,» the ELN said in a statement dated Sunday on its website.

«The population can only mobilize for humanitarian reasons related to funeral activities or hospital emergencies. We recommend the population stay in its houses or places of work.»

The threats are a bid by rebel leadership hiding out in Venezuela to sow fear, Defense Minister Diego Molano told journalists on Monday.

The Colombian government regularly accuses Venezuela’s government of providing safe haven to armed groups, which Caracas denies.

Duque called off nascent peace talks with the ELN in 2019 after it bombed a police academy, killing more than 20 people.

The group, with some 2,350 combatants, is considered more radical and less centrally controlled than the FARC rebels, who inked a 2016 peace deal.

REUTERS

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