Logo Comando General de las Fuerzas Militares

The General Command of the Military Forces of Colombia, informs:


1. On the morning of Sunday, March 19, in development of the Ayacucho Joint Strategic Campaign Plan, troops of the National Army, with the support of the Colombian Air Force, Police and Prosecutor's Office working with the objective of protecting civilians, engaged firefights against a criminal structure of the ELN, in the rural area of Tame, Arauca.


2. This organized armed group, using civilians as cover in some cases, killed a non-commissioned officer and wounded three other soldiers, in the same way they attacked the aircraft that rescued the wounded men.


3. In the same way, as a result of the heavy firefight of the military operation, two members of the ELN's Navy criminal structure were killed. War materiel such as rifles, pistols, ammunition of different calibers, communications equipment, military accessories material and two vehicles were found by troops at the scene.


4. After the inspection of the bodies carried out by the authorities, it was possible to identify that one of the dead members of the ELN was an illegal combatant under the age of 18. This action once again highlights the reprehensible practice of this organized armed group of recruiting minors, forcing them to carry out terrorist operations, extortion, kidnapping, murder, drug trafficking and attack the Military Forces, as happened in the murder of the non-commissioned officer who leaves behind a wife and two children.


5. According to the investigations, it has been established that this illegal combatant under the age of 18, had been forcibly recruited two years ago by the ELN, and was being trained in the handling of weapons and explosives to carry out criminal operations against civilians, critical construction, the Military Forces and the Police, as happened this Sunday, where they even threw fireballs from some houses trying to burn the military who protect the lives of Colombians.


6. These criminal operations are a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, becoming a War Crime on the part of the ELN, which, in this particular case, used at least one minor under the age of 18 to murder an Army non-commissioned officer and leave three more men injured, and even to attack from civilian houses the military and military aircraft driven to evacuate the members of the Military Forces.


7. This Command rejects this criminal practice of the ELN that in the same way mourns an Araucanian family that suffered the problem of forced recruitment, and therefore invites the inhabitants to denounce this criminal practice, and thus continue to weaken the different logistical and criminal networks of the ELN.


8. Through the procedures of harmonious collaboration conducted by the institutions, and in accordance with the procedures established, criminal denunciations will be filed at the national and international level against the ELN before the institutions and agencies, so that legal operations are taken against this organized armed group, and they do not continue to take away the dream, life and rights of our children, youth and adolescents.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023 By MEBS