Colombian ELN vows election cease-fire

Colombian ELN vows election cease-fire

Colombian ELN vows election cease-fire

Colombian National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels announced on June 11 a unilateral ceasefire for the weekend of June 17, when a presidential runoff vote is being held.

The halt in military operations runs from June 15 to midnight on June 19, the National Liberation Army said in its online publication “Insurrection.”    

Hardline conservative candidate Ivan Duque won the first round of Colombia’s presidential elections in late May, and is favorite to defeat leftist Gustavo Petro in the run-off vote.

Duque has vowed to rewrite a peace deal that outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos reached in 2016 with the larger FARC guerrilla group.

He believes the deal is too lenient on the former guerrillas, and has expressed reservations about the negotiations between the Santos administration and the ELN, Colombia’s last rebel force, in Havana.

Santos said he wanted to see “complete peace” in his country, where more than 260,000 people have been killed, nearly 83,000 remain missing and some 7.4 million have been forced to flee their homes over the past 50 years of conflict.