The Colombian government on Thursday extended the UN’s mandate to remove the weapons caches with another two weeks, allowing the international organization to continue removing and destroying weapons caches until September 15.
According to Spanish news agency EFE, members of the military accompanying the unarmed UN officials and demobilized FARC members were attacked by the EPL while trying to extract a weapons deposit in Hacari, Norte de Santander.
Hacari lies in the Catatumbo region, one of Colombia’s most important coca growing regions where multiple illegal armed groups engaged in drug trafficking are active.
Before their demobilization and disarmament, the FARC was also active in Catatumbo.
According to the UN, the guerrillas-turned-politicians have since surrendered the coordinates of 957 weapons caches.
More than 640 of these caches have been recovered by UN officials, members of Colombia’s security forces and former guerrillas.
The attack on the UN mission is the second of its kind.
In early August, a similar attack took place when international peace observers and their Colombian police guards were on a mission to recover a weapons cache in the Cauca province.
After more than half a century of violently opposing the state, the FARC last week formally became a political party and is set to take part in elections next year.