This attack comes a week after ELN chief Nicolas Rodriguez announced on rebel radio that the exploratory phase of peace talks with the government are very close to being formalized.
Among the vehicles destroyed were two cargo trucks and three individual trucks. The five trucks had been stopped at a checkpoint when guerrillas “set them aflame without a word,” according to an eyewitness.
Bismark Calimeño, the Government Secretary of the Choco province, said “the guerrillas came down and set the vehicles on fire. Fortunately, we do not have reports of anyone injured.”
Following the attack, army troops arrived on the scene to control the situation and remove the destroyed vehicles. Army sources indicated that the guerrillas are likely part of the ELN front directed by Manuel Hernandez “El Boche.”
Attacks like these that block roads are especially hard on Quibdo, a predominately afro-Colombian city of 100,000, which is only connected by two main roads.
After Wednesday’s attack, the spokesman for the Association of Transporters of Colombia (ATC), Felipe Muñoz, said that the road that connects Quibdo to the east is completely blocked due to the burned cars.
Quibdo’s other main road, which connects it to the south, is blocked near Santa Cecilia, where indigenous groups are protesting. “The indigenous groups are going to be on strike until September 5 and will not allow vehicular traffic,” explained Muñoz.
The ELN (National Liberation Army) is Colombia second largest guerrilla group, the largest being the FARC.
It has been involved in Colombia’s armed conflict since it started in 1964, and announced informal peace talks with the government in June 2014.