Six Colombian Soldiers Killed in Clashes With Rebels

Six soldiers were killed in rural Colombia on Thursday after they entered a minefield during clashes with rebels, military officials told AFP.

The group “fell into an area prepared with explosives” while fighting with members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Central General Staff (EMC) in the northern province of Valdivia, according to the military.

Both groups are composed of rebels who rejected Colombia’s historic 2016 peace agreement, which demobilized the FARC.

Four soldiers were killed instantly while two others later succumbed to their injuries. A further four were wounded.

Colombia President Gustavo Petro said on X that he was saddened by the deaths of the soldiers.

“More young men killed in the war of greed. My heartfelt condolences to these decent Colombians’ families,” Petro said.

A report by the International Committee of the Red Cross, released on Wednesday, said that 117 people in Colombia were victims of anti-personnel mines in 2024.

The Colombian government has since 2022 been involved in stop-start talks with the Marxist ELN — responsible for the kidnapping last October of the father of Liverpool footballer Luis Diaz.

In October 2023, talks began with the main FARC dissident group, the EMC, which have been plagued by ceasefire violations and a major split in the group in April, which saw half of its fighters abandon peace negotiations.

Rights groups accuse guerrillas in Colombia of taking advantage of various ceasefires to expand their influence by seizing more territory and recruiting new members.

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