Venezuela expels ELN guerillas to Colombia

Two alleged ELN guerrillas were returned to Colombia on Monday after their arrest in Venezuela for killing four Colombian marines in the border department of Arauca.

The two men were part of a group of four that fled across the border after the attack on March 17, but were captured by Venezuelan authorities. The two were injured at the time of the arrest and were not returned earlier because of their health.

The men allegedly belong to the National Liberation Front (ELN).

The Venezuelan Minister of Interior and Justice reiterated his government’s commitment to the fight against organized crime and its strict compliance with international cooperation. He also remarked that Venezuela will not tolerate the use of its territory by actors of the armed conflict in Colombia.

The suspected insurgents were handed over to the Colombian national police at the Maiqueta International airport where they will travel on to Bogota to face trial.

The ELN is one of the two main guerrilla armies with left wing political ideologies operating in Colombia. A Marxisit-Leninist nationalist movement at first, it has become more involved in kidnapping, extortion and the narcotics trade. The estimated number of ELN soldiers has dropped to close to 1,000 in recent years.

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