Colombia’s ELN rebels announced on Sunday that they would cease attacks during the holidays and called on the government to resume suspended peace talks.
The ELN’s Central Command said that the unilateral ceasefire between December 23 and January 3 meant “to contribute to a climate of tranquility during Christmas and New Year.”
The guerrillas’ cessation of hostilities coincides with a ceasefire called by paramilitary group AGC that have been fighting with the ELN in the west of the country.
President Duque, abandoning the paths and efforts of dialogue and peace aggravates the crisis in Colombia, because it would end up destroying what remains of the agreements with the [demobilized guerrilla group] FARC and ignores the process of political solution with the ELN.
The guerrillas made it clear, however, that they are maintaining their demands for “peace with profound changes, that puts an end to the armed conflict and establishes a true democracy for Colombia.”
Duque has refused to resume the talks and has changed his demands on several occasions. Currently the president wants the guerrillas to unilaterally cease all hostilities and release all hostages.
It is unclear how many people, if any, are held by the guerrillas as they have continued to kidnap and release civilians throughout 2018.
Hundreds of civilians were displaced from guerrilla territory in the western Choco province over the past week amid an escalation of violence between the military and the ELN.
The group formed in 1964 and has violently opposed what they call “the regime” or “the oligarchy” in territories under their control ever since.