Colombian authorities capture key EPL leader

Colombian authorities captured an alleged top leader and three other alleged members of the Popular Liberation Army (EPL) in northern Colombia on Sunday, reported local media.

The arrests were part of a military offensive in the rural municipality of La Playa in the Norte de Santander department, a central northern region close to the Venezuelan border where guerrilla and criminal groups are prevalent.

Security forces highlighted the capture of a guerrilla alias “Roberto Canas,” head of security for the EPL’s supreme commander Victor Ramon Navarro Serrano, alias “Megateo.”

Canas is said to have been in charge of coordinating the organization’s major operations in the region, namely arms trafficking, drug trafficking, assassinations, extortion and kidnapping.

According to reports, Canas was in the company of at least 15 other guerrillas and open fired at troops at the time of his capture. The troops also seized weapons, ammunition, military equipment and various documents from the encampment.

The operation was a joint effort carried out by military troops and Colombia’s Technical Investigation Team, the investigatory branch of the Prosecutor General’s office.

The EPL is one of Colombia’s oldest guerrilla movements, but has been officially demobilized since 1991. The currently active EPL is a dissident faction of the original guerrilla movement that refused to reintegrate and is primarily active in the northern Colombian Norte de Santander department.

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