Guerrillas from southwest Colombia abandon ELN

(Screenshot: Twitter)

The “Comuneros del Sur” front that operates in southwest Colombia has broken ties with the ELN to pursue peace with the government of Gustavo Petro.

In a video, a guerrilla spokesman said that the guerrillas from the Nariño province unanimously voted to abandon the ELN.

The ELN dissident spokesman also said that the Comuneros del Sur would continue ongoing peace talks with the national government and regional peace building projects.

In a response, Peace Commissioner Otty Patiño said that the government will “treat this group from Nariño as a distinct and independent organization.”

According to the Peace Commissioner’s Office, ELN negotiation chief “Pablo Beltran” agreed with the split and was ready to continue peace talks with the government.

The government’s delegation at the peace talks with the ELN had asked Petro for separate peace processes in an open letter to the president last week.

According to the peace negotiators, holding talks with the guerrillas’ central command and the Nariño dissidents at the same time was “unfeasible.”

Colombia’s peace negotiators oppose talks with ELN dissidents

The split within the ELN had been months in the making.

According to newspaper El Espectador, communication between the Comuneros del Sur and the central command had effectively been broken off in September last year, according to newspaper El Espectador.

In September of 2023, Comuneros del Sur commander Gabriel Yepes told political news website La Silla Vacia that “we don’t feel represented” at the ELN negotiations with the government.

Peace talks between the government and the ELN’s central command were “frozen” in February because of the government’s decision to start a parallel peace process in Nariño, ELN negotiators said in April.

Colombia’s ELN guerrillas say peace talks have been “frozen”

The talks between the government and the ELN formally began under former President Juan Manuel Santos in 2017 and were suspended while former President Ivan Duque was in office.

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