Colombian Army accuses ELN of murdering two kidnap victims

The National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas have issued a statement reporting the kidnapping of eleven people in Tame, in the Colombian department of Arauca, two of whom were reportedly killed in a confrontation with the Army. However, the Army claims that these two individuals were killed by the guerrillas.

The guerrillas have reported that last Thursday troops of the Eastern War Front clashed with a military and police patrol that was looking for the kidnapped.

In the crossfire a demobilized guerrilla of the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Vladimir Herrera, and a man identified as Jaime Leon, were killed in the village of Palmarito, in the municipality of Fortul, according to the ELN.

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However, the commander of the Colombian Army’s Task Force Chiron, General Carlos Carrasquilla, has assured that they were killed by the ELN. “On Thursday, July 28 at night, units that were carrying out defensive tasks near the Bicentennial Pipeline reported the sound of rifle blasts over the sector of the Palmarito population center, municipality of Fortul, approximately two kilometers from their position,” said Carrasquilla.

According to the general, on the morning of July 29 “they proceeded to carry out a search of the area where the shots were heard, where two lifeless bodies were found.”

“It is pertinent to clarify and deny the version published by this group outside the law, which alludes to a confrontation or armed clash with our military units, since these murders were committed by this criminal group, this being another flagrant violation of human rights and international humanitarian law,” he said.

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Carrasquilla has demanded the release of the other civilians held, as well as four uniformed men. For its part, the ELN has assured that the nine people are in good health and has anuncated that in the next few days it will facilitate humanitarian channels so that they can be released and handed over to their families.

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