X Close

World

Published: Wednesday June 11, 2014 MYT 6:46:53 AM
Updated: Wednesday June 11, 2014 MYT 6:47:54 AM

Factbox - Colombia's left-wing guerrillas the ELN

BOGOTA - Colombia's second-largest rebel group, the National Liberation Army or ELN, have begun exploratory peace talks with the government, days before a tight reelection battle for President Juan Manuel Santos, the presidency said in a statement on Tuesday.

If talks are launched, the ELN will follow in the footsteps of larger rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, who have been holding negotiations with the government for 19 months.

Here are key facts on the ELN:

* The guerrilla group of about 3,000 fighters, considered a terrorist organisation by the U.S. and EU, was founded in 1964 by radical Catholic priests inspired by the Cuban revolution.

* The ELN, like Colombia's larger and more famous rebel group the FARC, has been weakened by a 10-year U.S.-backed military offensive, which has nearly halved the ELN's number of combatants from an estimated 5,000 in the mid-1990s.

* The group operates largely in Colombia's northeast and frequently attacks oil infrastructure such as pipelines, and has kidnapped energy sector workers.

* The ELN has sought peace before, holding talks in Cuba and Venezuela between 2002 and 2007. Experts say there was a lack of will on both sides to agree on a final peace plan.

* Though government sources now believe the ELN's primary source of income is drug trafficking, ransom and protection payments made up much of the rebel movement's revenue until the mid-2000s.

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

advertisement

  1. A joyous Merdeka celebration
  2. Cops arrest 156 voluntary patrol members after state-level Merdeka procession
  3. Two youths killed in crash while racing in their Evo
  4. They acted like gangsters, IGP Khalid says of PPS
  5. Mei Fun: Police must arrest those behind attack on Guan Eng's home
  6. World champion still a dream for Chong Wei
  7. Proton offers sneak peek of new compact car
  8. Cops swoop in to arrest PPS members after Penang Merdeka parade
  9. 57 years of Malaysia
  10. Riot erupts after Sarawak-Perak football match in Kuching

advertisement

advertisement