Bogota: ELN Rebel Commander Killed in Military Strike
According to the government, a commander of Colombia’s last active guerilla group, the ELN, died Tuesday as a result of injuries sustained in a military bombardment two weeks ago.
According to Defense Minister Diego Molano, the rebel leader “Fabian,” whose real name was Ogli Angel Padilla Romero, was the target of the bombing in the northwestern department of Choco.
“He was discovered wounded under some bushes yesterday (Monday). “He was extremely near to where the bombing happened,” Molano explained.
The militant was found dead in a hospital in Cali early Tuesday.
Fabian served on the ELN’s central command decision-making body and oversaw the group’s “Western War Front” in Choco, one of the organization’s strongholds.
Colombian President Ivan Duque announced the “neutralization” of the “narco-terrorist” and “killer” on Twitter.
“He was a dangerous criminal,” Molano stated, portraying Fabian as the “author of many killings, kidnappings,” and a “drug trafficking ringleader” responsible for the relocation of thousands of people.
During the large anti-government protests that shook the country between April and June this year, he allegedly encouraged attacks on security forces and acts of damage, according to authorities.
The ELN, or National Liberation Army, is Colombia’s final active guerrilla group, following a 2016 peace agreement that disarmed the major rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, while some FARC members remain active and in war with the ELN.
The ELN has about 2,300 active combatants and a large support network in urban areas.
The Colombian government has accused the ELN for several attacks on security troops in recent weeks.
Fabian became a member of the group as a teenager, and was a member of a radical component that was involved in cocaine trafficking and kidnapping to fund the group’s attempted insurgency.
His arrest had been sought on charges of “rebellion,” kidnapping, and murder, the latter for the assassination of an indigenous chief.
Since fellow commander “Uriel” was killed in a military operation in October of last year, his killing is the most significant strike against the ELN.
The Choco jungle is at the core of a territorial dispute between the ELN and Colombia’s most powerful narcotrafficking cartel, the Gulf Clan.
It’s also a key transit hub for cocaine shipments to Central America and the United States, as well as a gold-mining enclave.
Colombia is one of them. Brief News from Washington Newsday.