Colombia’s Defense Ministry on Monday confirmed that guerrilla group ELN was behind a bomb attack on a police station that killed five people on Saturday.
The group has also become the prime suspect of two more attacks on Sunday in which two policemen died and eight were injured, Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas told RCN Radio.
According to the minister, the guerrillas “opted for terrorism over peace.”
“Our security forces are able to successfully confront the ELN and all other threats as we have shown this year,” said Villegas.
The ELN killed at least 10 members of the security forces since a three-month ceasefire expired on January 9.
The violence spurred the suspension of talks that seek to end more than half a century of armed conflict that has marked the country for more than half a century.
Government negotiator Gustavo Bell spent the past week in Quito, Ecuador, in an attempt to negotiate the resumption of the ceasefire and formal peace talks.
Bell will meet President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday to analyze the possibilities of a ceasefire.
Conservative presidential candidates have called for an end of talks and a renewed military offensive in the middle of a peace process with the FARC, until last year the country’s largest illegal armed group.
The United Nations, which is monitoring the FARC peace process, has urged the government and the ELN to persist in the quest for a ceasefire and to avoid an escalation of violence.
The international organization fiercely condemned the ELN attack in Barranquilla.
The armed conflict that has waged in Colombia since 1964 already cost the lives of more than 265,000 people. More than 7 million have fled their homes.