Colombia’s second largest guerrilla army, the National Liberation Army (ELN), asked the rival Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to end hostilities between the two groups. ELN supreme commander Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista AKA “Gabino” wrote an open letter to his FARC counterpart, “Alfonso Cano” asking him to “stop to fratricidal war between our two forces,” the ELN website shows. In the letter, the ELN chief says he is still waiting for reply to earlier missives urging the FARC commander for a bilateral meeting and resolve the conflict between the two guerilla armies. (Colombia Reports, May 24)
Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe responded by baiting the ELN as “cowards.” Said the president: “The country, the governments, have opened all the paths to peace [with the ELN]. But they are afraid. They see the FARC watching and they retreat, because they are very cowardly.” In case there was any ambiguity, he added: “These bandits of the ELN have had every possibility to advance towards peace, and they don’t do it because they are afraid of the FARC.”
Between 2005 and 2007, Uribe’s ELN held a series of meetings in Havana, but the dialogue ended with no peace agreement.
Uribe also announced a $2.2 million reward for information leading to the capture of FARC leaders Timoleón Jiménez AKA “Timochenko” and Germán Briceño AKA “Grannobles”, both believed to be in Arauca department. (AFP, May 24)