The ELN announced its solidarity in a press release published on the rebels’ website.
“The National Liberation Army stands in solidarity and sorrow with the sister organization the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia organization, with the families and friends of nearly thirty guerrillas, killed by the hands of the armed forces of the State, on 22 May in Guapi, Cauca”, said the ELN leadership.
The military bombardments against the FARC camp took place last week in the Pacific municipality of Guapi. The bombardment spurred the FARC to almost immediately suspend a unilateral ceasefire after which attacks against public forces resumed after five months of relative calm.
According to the ELN, the FARC’s unilateral had become unsustainable.
“Without doubt, the bold decision to declare an indefinite unilateral ceasefire, is a bold gesture to create a climate conducive to peace.” However, the recent events are “a clear demonstration of its inability and the disadvantage to maintain it.”
The ELN criticized President Juan Manuel Santos’ government of having “used” the unilateral ceasefire “for military advantages.”
The ELN — like the FARC, and several victim and rural organizations had done before — pressured Santos to agree on a bilateral ceasefire.
However, this possibility was deemed “unlikely” by Santos last month while the government was still upholding a suspension of air strike.
However, the resumption of air strikes that ultimately led to the death of the 26 FARC guerrillas was the government’s response to a surprise FARC attack that killed 11 soldiers.
This surprise attack seemed to have drawn the peace talks into a negative spiral of violence that has left dozens of civilians, soldiers, and guerrillas dead, and has displaced more than a thousand.
The spike in violence is a set back for efforts to make peace between the Colombian state on one, and the FARC and ELN guerrillas on the other side.
While the FARC has been in formal peace talks with the government since November 2012, the ELN has so far failed to come to agreement with Santos about formalizing exploratory talks.
Both groups have been fighting the state since 1964 in a war that has left more than 7 million victims.
ELN respalda a Farc en decisión de suspender tregua unilateral (El Espectador)