Eighteen members of the ELN guerrilla group disarmed and demobilized in front of the Colombian armed forces in south-west Colombia, officials said Monday.
According to official sources, the rebels laid down their arms in an area known as the Telembi Triangle in the Nariño department before troops of the Combined Command of the Pacific Military Forces.
A press statement from the general command of the armed forces said that “the pressure of the troops and the constant messages sent across the radio encouraging demobilization, motivated the decision of the eighteen members.”
He added that the guerrillas “demonstrated the wish to lay down their weapons and get the benefits offered by the national government through the Program for Humanitarian Attention for the Demobilized.”
The eighteen guerrillas – twelve men and six women – who belonged to the “Guerreros del Sindagua” front, handed over their rifles and a grenade launcher.
The sources also indicated that the”Guerreros del Sindagua” front were responsible for the recent kidnapping of three citizens traveling on the Pasto-Tumaco road, who have since been rescued unharmed.
Since August 2002 the Program for Humanitarian Attention for the Demobilized, started by President Alvaro Uribe, has demobilized about 21,900 armed guerrillas, paramilitaries, and more than 30,000 people collectively, according to official sources.