Colombian Army Blames ELN Rebels For Death Of 4 Minors In Strike Against Group

Colombian Army Blames ELN Rebels for Death of 4 Minors in Strike Against Group

MEXICO CITY (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 08th October, 2021) The National Army of Colombia has blamed the radical left-wing armed group National Liberation Army (ELN) for the death of four teens killed during armed forces airstrike against the rebels in the western part of the country.

According to Ivan Cepeda, an opposition member of the Senate, the bombing targeted the insurgents' camp in the department of Choco, killing four teenagers, including a 13-year-old girl. The lawmaker accuses the defense ministry of seeking to conceal the consequences of the strike, after he learned of the operation from the Institute of Legal Medicine.

"Violators of international humanitarian law are those who put those protected by this right at undue risks.

It is the ELN who commits the war crime by forcibly recruiting minors and placing them at a military facility," the army said in a statement on Thursday, as quoted by state-run Radio Nacional.

The military operation was launched on September 16. According to the defense ministry, it left six insurgents killed, delivering the most serious blow to the group's Western Front in recent months.

Since 1964, Colombia has been gripped by a low-intensity armed conflict between the government and rebels groups, including the ELN. The Colombian government, the EU and the US designate the ELN as a terrorist group.