Alleged rebels of the ELN, Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group, have killed two policemen in an attack in the southwest of the country.
According to the National Police, the two officials were fatally shot from behind while keeping an eye on a pilgrimage to a local holy site for Catholics in the municipality of Tuquerres.
In a press statement published online, the police said to “reject these crimes against humanity that violate human rights and international humanitarian law.”
The double homicide took place in the south of the Nariño state where a number of illegal armed groups, including the ELN, are active.
Authorities offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the perpetrators of the attack.
Officers Jorge Luis Seña, 25, and Mauricio Jose Suarez, 24, are the latest victims in what appears to be a new modus operandi of the rebel group that is holding exploratory talks with the government over a possible peace deal.
Less than a month ago, three policemen and one government official were surprised and assassinated by alleged ELN rebels in the northeast of the country.
The ELN, originally a Marxist group with ties to activist priests, has been fighting the Colombian state since its foundation in 1964.
Since then, the group has taken part in an armed conflict that has cost more than 900,000 lives and forced more than 6 million Colombians to abandon their home and land.
The administration of President Juan Manuel Santos began peace talks with the FARC, the country’s largest rebel organization, in 2012. The preliminary talks with the ELN were announced in June last year, but have proven difficult.