The military operation was directed against the Dario Castro Column of the Marxist guerrilla group and its commander, Maria Orlinda Guerrero, alias “La Negra Yesenia,” who was killed in the attack.
During the raid, army personnel seized a weapons cache of AK-47s, pistols and grenades as well as food rations, computers, USB drives and documental material to be handled by military intelligence.
La Negra Yesenia, who was considered to be one of the bloodiest leaders of the ELN, spent 22 years in the organization and was the mastermind behind the highjacking of the Fokker Avianca flight on April 12, 1999. She was also the coauthor of numerous attacks against civilians, security forces and electrical infrastructures in the departments of Antioquia and Bolivar.
Commenting on the death of the ELN commander Colombia’s Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said, “She was a staff member of the ELN. She was related to the central command, and there is evidence linking alias ‘La Negra Yesenia’ with various crimes. [She] was even considered as one of the most violent people in the actions that the ELN had advanced on the country.”
The ELN has been operating in Colombia since 1964, and their membership was estimated at about 5,000 as of 2010.