Weekly Report - 23 September 2021 (WR-21-38)

COLOMBIA: Killing of ELN commanders unlikely to cripple group

Colombia’s government landed a significant blow on the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) guerrilla group on 17 September, when the commander and second-in-command of the ELN’s Western Front were killed in an air strike in the western department Chocó. Defence Minister Diego Molano Aponte described the military action as a major step towards crushing the ELN’s Colombia-based factions, arguing that the group’s remaining leaders are operating out of Venezuela and Cuba. However, there is a risk that the strike could aid the expansion of the Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia (AGC) drug trafficking organisation, also known as the ‘Clan del Golfo’, which has been battling the ELN in Chocó.

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