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Country profile for Colombia

Provided Courtesy of Security Exchange 24

Risk Rating

Unselected
Red (High Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are dangerous.

Do not travel unless absolutely necessary.

Amber (Moderate Risk)
Amber (Moderate Risk) InTouch advice:

Some parts of the country are dangerous.

Travel with caution.

Unselected
Green (Low Risk) InTouch advice:

Most parts of the country are safe.

Travel freely.

General Information

  • Capital: Bogota
  • Major Languages: Spanish
  • Currency: Peso
  • Timezone: GMT -5:00

Country Map

Map of Colombia

After five years of peace negotiations with the Colombian government and an UN-brokered disarmament process, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) completed its full demobilisation in 2016. Despite government efforts to ensure the guarantees predicted under the agreement, peace in Colombia remains tenuous and has been disrupted by outbreaks of violence. In July 2015, both sides signed a de-escalation deal in a bid to reach a definite bilateral ceasefire. The deal paved the way to the final historic peace agreement, which was signed on 24 August 2016. Although the peace agreement was rejected in a referendum, both the government and the FARC stated their commitment to it. After increasing resistance from both houses of Congress, the deal was ratified in late-2016. As part of the peace process, FARC militants were sent to special reintegration zones across the country to hand over their weapons and be re-inserted into civil society. In September 2017, former FARC leaders announced the launching of their own political party, the Common Alternative Revolutionary Party.

During the current implementation period of the peace deal, political tensions remain high. In August 2018, President Ivan Duque won the presidential elections as a candidate for the right-wing Democratic Centre (CD). Similar to previous CD administrations, President Duque has pushed for a hard-line approach against militant and paramilitary groups in Colombia. Since he replaced Juan Manuel Santos, the relationship between the government and the FARC leadership has deteriorated. Much of the tension is linked to the president's resistance to a number of articles in the peace agreement, while other issues include violence against demobilised FARC militants and the death of social leaders across Colombia. Political turmoil has escalated since the government allowed an extradition order against Jesus Santrich, a former FARC leader accused of drug-trafficking in the US. The move was later barred in court, which ordered his release. Santrich’s detention led to some grievances within the FARC leadership. Former FARC commander Ivan Marquez went missing after refusing to be sworn in as a senator. In August 2019, Marquez, Santrich and several others featured in a video issuing a call to arms and the formation of a new political movement. Although it remains unclear the future impact of Marquez's move, the message was considered the first major setback on the peace agreement. In response, the government has vowed to hunt down those linked to this newly established dissident FARC movement.

Alongside paramilitary and other militant groups, FARC dissident fronts operate at varying levels across Colombia. Mostly engaged in drug-trafficking, extortion and other criminal activities, dissident fronts have also been linked to kidnapping. In January 2018, the so-called Oliver Sinisterra Front was accused of launching cross-border attacks into Ecuador. Along with launching successive offensives against security forces in the border, the front was also accused of the kidnapping and killing three members of an Ecuadorian media team. Dissidents mostly operate in the Meta and Guaviare departments, while they are also known for being present in Cauca and some areas in northern Colombia.

In March 2016, the Colombian government announced that it was also starting formal peace talks with the country’s second-largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN). Nearly a year later, the Colombian government and the ELN formally initiated peace talks in Ecuador. The dialogue was previously halted due to ELN’s refusal to release hostages. Despite the peace negotiations, the ELN continues to engage in criminal activity, including kidnapping, extortion and drug-trafficking to fund their operations. Most ELN attacks target security forces stationed in departments along the Venezuelan border, such as Norte de Santander and Arauca. In January 2019, peace talks were derailed after the ELN targeted a police academy in Bogota, where over 20 people were killed. Since then, the group has launched several attacks against the military, police officers and oil pipelines.

Kidnapping in Colombia still frequently occur both in urban and rural areas, but it has fallen significantly since its peak in the late 1990s. Although numbers have further reduced since the demobilisation of the FARC, other criminal groups have engaged in kidnapping activities after taken over FARC-held territory. Most victims of kidnap for ransom in Colombia are domestic nationals, including prominent ranchers and businesspeople. Besides kidnapping, the same groups are also involved in drug-trafficking, extortion, illegal mining and attacks against oil infrastructure across the country. Since 2015, the Clan del Golfo has been increasingly active in western Colombia. Mass displacements are common in some rural areas due to territorial disputes involving rival paramilitary and militant groups attempting to control key drug-trafficking routes. Civilians are often caught in the crossfire between the armed forces and criminal entities in rural regions. In urban areas, serious crime poses a serious issue, especially in major population centres such as Medellin, Barranquilla, Cali and Bogota. Armed robberies and petty crime are among those that may mostly impact tourists in Colombia.

Landslides and flooding are most common during the country’s rainy season, which varies depending on the region. Special attention should be paid on travels to mountainous areas and towns near rivers that are particularly vulnerable to weather-related incidents. In April 2017, heavy rainfall brought flash flooding and landslides to the southern town of Mocoa, where more than 300 people were killed. Nearly two years later, more than 20 people were killed in another landslide near Rosas, Cauca. Landslides often block major roads, which may leave towns isolated for days. In May 2019, a major stretch of the main road between Bogota and Villavicencio was blocked by landslides.

Colombia is among a number of countries worldwide which have been hit by the global outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus. The latest case figures can be viewed here.

News articles

By CPJ

Colombian journalist Andrés Felipe Guevara shot and killed

Colombian authorities must thoroughly investigate the killing of journalist Andrés Felipe Guevara Henao, determine if he was targeted for his work, and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

By the Guardian

Colombian radio journalist murdered

Radio presenter Edgar Quintero became the second Colombian journalist to be murdered in three weeks on Monday (2 March) when a gunman shot him as he entered a baker’s shop near his workplace.

By Fox News Latino

Colombian journalist murdered after receiving death threats

Colombian journalist Luis Peralta Cuellar, who had received death threats and survived an attack in 2010, was murdered in the southern province of Caqueta, the Press Freedom Foundation, or Flip, reported Sunday.

By INSI

Colombian journalist gunned down

The Colombian journalist Luis Carlos Cervantes, the director of the radio station Morena in Taraza Antioquia, was killed on August 12.

By IPI

Journalist gunned down in Colombia

Colombian journalist Yonni Steven Caicedo was shot and killed on Feb. 19, 2014 after receiving death threats for covering a criminal investigation in the Caldas neighbourhood, located in the coastal town of Buenaventura, in western Colombia, human rights and press freedom groups reported.

View all articles for Colombia

Alerts for Colombia

Dozens of flights cancelled at Vanguardia Airport (VSS) due to flooding

Throughout the weekend, at least 26 flights were cancelled at Vanguardia Airport (VCC) in Villavicencio, Meta due to flooding in the area caused by heavy rains. The rains reportedly caused the Guatiquía River to rupture a dam and flooded some parts of the airport. According to reports, some 2100 passengers were affected. 

Two police officers shot and killed in Anorí

Two police officers were shot and killed in Anorí, Antioquia yesterday morning. The incident took place in Anorí Park at around 01:00 local time. According to police, the incident is related to the murder of an off-duty officer on 18 May via grenade attacks, in which three others were injured. 

Four killed, one injured after shootout between FARC dissidents and Army in Toribío

Four people were killed and another was injured following a shootout between security forces and FARC dissidents in Toribío, Cauca yesterday. The clashes took place in La María, El Damián, and El Trapiche, where the Army clashed with members of the 'Dagoberto Ramos Ortiz' branch of FARC dissidents. Military-grade weapons, ammunition and cash were seized at the scene. 

Four dead after small aeroplane crash in Piracure

Four people died after a small aeroplane crash in Piracura, Vaupes yesterday afternoon. The crash was reported in a remote area in southeastern Colombia at around 15:00 local time, shortly after the plane had taken off from Mitu. The cause of the crash remains under investigation. 

Three killed, one injured after shooting in Buga

Three people were killed and another was injured following a shooting in Buga, Valle de Cauca on Saturday evening. The incident took place at La Revolución park at around 21:00 local time. No arrests have been made. 

Police officer shot and killed in Yumbo

One police officer was shot and killed by an unidentified armed suspect in Yumbo, Valle de Cauca yesterday morning. The incident took place in Belalcazar during the early morning hours. No arrests have been reported. 

One injured, several homes damaged after 'moto-bomb' attack in Caloto

At least one person was injured and more than 30 homes were damaged after a 'moto-bomb' was detonated in Caloto, Cauca yesterday evening. The incident was reported on the Chiquito Bridge at around 20:15 local time. The incident remains under investigation. 

One soldier killed, seven injured after Gulf Clan ambush in Montecristo

One soldier was killed and seven others were injured following an armed attack in Montecristo, Bolívar yesterday. The incident took place in La Mula at an undisclosed time. According to reports, members of the Army were ambushed by Gulf Clan members as they patrolled the area. No arrests have been reported. 

Local councillor shot and killed in Andermanuevo

A local councillor was shot and killed in Ansermanuevo, Valle de Cauca yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in Nuevo Sol at around 16:00 local time. According to witnesses, a group of armed suspects intercepted the councillor on his motorbike and shot him before fleeing. No arrests have been reported. 

Two killed, two injured after shootout in Policarpa

Two people were killed and two others were injured following a shootout between suspects and police in Policarpa Salavarrieta, Narino yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at around 15:30 local time. According to reports, one of the victims was a police officer. 

FARC dissident leader arrested in Policarpa

Authorities in Narino reported that a FARC dissident leader known as 'El Paisa' was arrested by security forces yesterday in Policarpa Salavarrieta. 'El Paisa' is the leader of the Mobile Column Franco Benavidades cell of FARC dissidents. 

Two Mayor's office employees shot and killed in El Cerrito

Two Mayor's office employees were shot and killed in El Cerrito, Valle de Cauca yesterday afternoon. According to reports, the victims were ambushed by an individual on a motorcycle who shot at them whilst driving by. No arrests have been made. 

One police officer killed, one injured after sniper attack in El Tarra

One police officer was killed and another was injured following a sniper attack in El Tarra, Norte de Santander yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at around 15:30 local time when police personnel was patrolling the San Rafel neighbourhood, where they were shot at by an unidentified sniper. No arrests have been made. 

One killed, 44 displaced after FARC dissident clashes in Buenos Aires

One person was killed and 44 others were displaced following armed clashes in Buenos Aires, Cauca yesterday. The clashes occurred in Mazamorrero, where two FARC dissident groups reportedly began shooting at each other. The displaced families moved to the neighbouring Santander de Quilichao in order to safeguard their families. 

Two officials killed, four injured after being ambushed by Gulf Cartel in Cañasgordas

One soldier and one police officer were killed, and four others were injured after an armed attack in Cañasgordas, Antioquia yesterday. The incident was reported on the Guadual trail at around 17:00 local time. According to reports, police and Army members were escorting a convoy carrying goods when they got ambushed by Gulf Cartel members. No arrests have been reported. 

Gulf Clan launches 'armed strike' in protest of ex-leader's extradition

Since Friday afternoon, at least four people have been killed and more than 100 vehicles have been destroyed on highways across northern Colombia as the Gulf Clan announced an armed strike in protest of the extradition of former leader Dario Antonio Usuga aka 'Otoniel' to the US. According to reports, the four-day armed strike is intended to restrict the movement of vehicles and people as well as the closure of businesses in Antioquia, Bolivar, Córdoba, and Sucre. The National Police arrested 44 perpetrators as it increased military presence in the areas. 

Joint Army-Navy operation destroys 11 FARC cocaine labs in Nariño

Authorities in Colombia reportedly seized and destroyed 11 cocaine labs belonging to FARC dissidents yesterday in Tumaco and Roberto Payán, Nariño. The labs were found during a joint Army-Navy security operation against drug trafficking in the area. According to the statement, the operation cost FARC dissidents some $1.28b in resources and materials. 

Public transport bus intercepted and set on fire in Anorí

A public transport bus was set on fire by two unidentified suspects in Anorí, Antioquia yesterday. The incident took place in El Rellenito, where two armed suspects intercepted the bus, asked everyone to descend, and then proceeded to set it on fire in the middle of the road. Traffic was disrupted for around two hours. No casualties were reported. 

Violent clashes between protesters and police reported in Bogotá

Violent clashes between protesters and police were reported yesterday in Bogotá. According to reports, a group of local merchants protested against an anti-smuggling operation at Plaza España by tossing Molotov cocktails and fireworks at riot police, when they responded with tear gas and flash bombs in order to disperse the crowd. No casualties have been reported. 

Two dead after mine collapse in Cucunubá

Two people died after a mine collapsed in Cucunubá, Cundinamarca yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at the 'El Espino' coal mine in Pueblo Viejo, at around 12:00 local time. According to reports, the collapse was caused by an explosion of methane gas. A similar incident occurred on 1 April, in which two people died as well. 

Six FARC dissidents killed after military operation in Puerto Rondón

Six FARC dissidents were killed during a military operation in Puerto Rondón, Arauca yesterday evening. The security operation targeted a rural area in Puerto Rondón where drug trafficking and criminal activity have forced dozens of displacements recently. 

Two Gulf Clan members killed, two arrested after security operation in Cúcuta

Two alleged Gulf Clan members were killed and two others were arrested following a security operation in Cúcuta, Norte de Santander yesterday. According to police, amongst the arrestees was the head of the 'Luis Orlando Padierna Peña' substructure. Weapons, narcotics and ammunition were seized from the complex in El Suspiro.

Gustavo Pietro cancels political events due to gang plans against his life

Gustavo Petro, a front-runner in Colombia's upcoming presidential election, cancelled his campaign events on Monday after he learned about a plan that would make an attempt on his life. Petro, a former M-19 guerrilla member and mayor of Bogotá, was reportedly diverted by his security team after learning about an attack coming from the 'La Cordillera' gang as he headed to Manizales. No injuries were reported. 

Security officials arrest 25 Gulf Clan members

Following a security operation in Sucre and Córdoba, 25 alleged members of the Gulf Clan were arrested. The security operation aimed at tackling drug trafficking, homicides, and extortion in the areas of La Mojana and San Jorge. 

Protesters vandalise mayor's office in Candelaria

Authorities in Valle de Cauca reported that protesters attacked the Mayor's office in Candelaria yesterday morning. The demonstrators protested against water cuts that the municipality had approved, damaging several buildings in the area. 

Three dead, one missing after boat capsizes in the Caguán River

Three people died and another remains missing after a boat capsized in the Caguán River in San Vicente del Caguán, Caqueta yesterday morning. According to reports, the river saw a substantial increase in its flow due to recent heavy rains. A rescue mission is underway. 

Four people killed by FARC dissidents in Puerto Guzmán

Four people were shot and killed by FARC dissidents in Puerto Guzmán, Putumayo yesterday. The incident took place in Las Perlas, at an undisclosed time. No arrests have been reported. 

Two killed, one injured after armed attack in Salgar

Two people were killed and another was injured following an armed attack in Salgar, Antioquia yesterday evening. The incident took place in La Florida, at around 21:00 local time. No arrests have been made. 

Five killed, two injured after shooting in Cartago

Five people were killed and two others were injured following a shooting in Cartago, Valle de. Cauca yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at a residence in Comuna 7, in the La Paz neighbourhood, at around 16:00 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Mayor of El Charco kidnapped by armed suspects

The mayor of El Charco was reportedly kidnapped by armed suspects yesterday whilst travelling from Guapi, Cauca towards Narino. The incident occurred at around 16:00 local time. According to reports, the ELN is suspected to have conducted the kidnapping. No arrests have been reported. 

Three people killed in Valle del Rosario shooting

Three people were shot and killed in Valle del Rosario, Norte de Santander yesterday. The incident took place on the Los Mangos trail at around 18:00 local time. According to reports, the incident occurred as criminal groups clashed in the area. No arrests have been reported. 

One FARC dissident killed, one injured after police operation in Tibú

One FARC dissident was killed and another was injured following a shootout with police in Tibú, Norte de Santander yesterday morning. The incident occurred as police executed an operation against the 'FARC's 33rd Front'. According to reports, one of the victims was 'Mono Gringo' who was wanted for the murder of two policemen and other terrorist activities. 

Mass altercation reported at Mayales shopping centre

Authorities in Cesar reported a mass altercation between members of two gangs in Valledupar yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at the Mayales shopping centre at around 14:00 local time when a group of 40 youth gang members began scruffling with knives and razors. The shopping centre was temporarily closed. No casualties have been reported. 

Five injured, four arrested during clashes with police in Medellín

Five people were injured and four others were arrested during clashes between protesters and police in Medellín, Antioquia yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at the University of Antioquia at around 12:00 local time when 200-300 people clashed with police as they protested and vandalised areas of Barranquilla Street and Ferrocarril Avenue. 

Three killed, five injured, four missing after Gulf Clan attack in Frontino

Three soldiers were killed, five were injured and four others went missing after an attack in Frontino, Antioquia yesterday evening. According to reports, the attack was perpetrated by Gulf Clan members at around 00:00, as soldiers patrolled Nutibara. No arrests have been made. 

Four people shot and killed in Balboa

Four people were shot and killed in Balboa, Cauca yesterday morning. The incident took place in La Bermeja, at around 04:00 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Four killed, five injured after armed attack in Tame

Four people were killed and five others were injured following an armed attack in Tame, Arauca yesterday morning. The incident took place in Las Nubes, at around 01:00 local time. According to reports, this marks the 140th homicide in Arauca this year. No arrests have been reported. 

One killed, one injured after sniper attack in El Tarra

One person was killed and another was injured following a sniper attack in El Tarra, Norte de Santander yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in El Rosal, at around 17:30 local time when suspected ELN members shot at security forces. No arrests have been reported. 

A dozen injured after aircraft crash at La Vanguardia Airport (VVC)

A dozen people were injured after a police aircraft crash-landed at La Vanguardia Airport (VVC) in Villavicencio, Meta yesterday afternoon. The crash occurred at around 13:00 local time when a DC-3 aircraft struggled to land due to high-speed winds. Several flights were delayed for around 30 minutes due to the incident. 

Two stabbed, four arrested after clashes between football fans in Bogotá

Two people were stabbed and four others were arrested following violent clashes between football fans in Bogotá yesterday evening. The incident took place in Kennedy at around 22:00 local time when Millonarios fans clashed with America de Cali fans. 

One dead, 33 injured after bus accident in Salgar

One person is dead and 33 others were injured following a bus accident in Salgar, Antioquia yesterday morning. The incident took place in Los Andes, at around 06:00 local time. According to reports, the bus fell into a river whilst crossing a bridge near Salgar. 

Police officer kidnapped by FARC dissidents in Dagua

One police officer was kidnapped by FARC dissidents yesterday in Dagua, Valle de Cauca. According to reports, the Cali Metropolitan Police personnel was taken in El Placer, Queremal by members of the 'Jaime Martinez' branch. Police have launched an investigation. 

One dead, six intoxicated after methane gas explosion in Amagá

One person died and six others were intoxicated following a methane gas explosion in Amagá, Antioquia yesterday afternoon. The incident was reported at an illegal coal mine known as 'El Eucalipto', in the La Cueva area, at around 12:00 local time. The incident remains under investigation. 

Hundreds displaced amid violent clashes between ELN and 'Gaitanistas' in Buenaventura

Authorities in Valle de Cauca reported that at least 150 families have been displaced amid violent clashes between ELN and the 'Gaitanista' group in Buenaventura over the weekend. The clashes were reported in San Isidro, near Bajo Calima, sporadically throughout the weekend. 

Former deputy shot and killed in Bucamaranga

A former deputy was shot and killed during an attempted robbery in Bucamaranga, Santander yesterday afternoon. The incident took place on Carrera 24 and 16th Street, in the San Francisco neighbourhood, at around 14:00 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Ten killed, ten injured, seven missing due to floods in Antioquia

Authorities in Antioquia reported that floods caused by heavy rains have killed at least 10 people, injured at least another 10, and at least seven people remain missing as of yesterday. Additionally, the heavy rains in the Abiraquí municipality caused the El Provernir mine to flood, halting its operations. 

Two killed, two injured after police-involved shootout in Quibdó

Two people were killed and two others were injured following a police-involved shootout in Quibdó, Chocó yesterday evening. The incident took place in Reposo Tres at around 21:00 local time. According to reports, the shootout ensued as police tried to arrest two 'Los Mexicanos' gang members. Police seized military-grade weapons, drugs, and cash from the perpetrators' vehicle. 

Dozens injured during clashes between indigenous protesters and police in Bogotá

Around 30 people, including eight police officers, were injured during clashes between protesters and police in Bogotá yesterday. According to reports, the Emberá indigenous community staged a protest and blockade on Carrera 7 and 36th Street, at around 21:00 local time when police officers intervened. 

FARC dissident shot and killed in Colinas

One FARC dissident was shot and killed in Colinas, Guaviare yesterday evening. The incident took place near the town church at around 20:00 local time when the victim was shot by sicarios riding motorcycles. According to reports, some 30 FARC dissidents have been killed in Guaviare this year. No arrests have been reported.

Three people shot and killed in Quibdó

Three people were shot and killed in Quibdó, Chocó yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in San Vicente, at around 16:00 local time. According to reports, the shooting was a confrontation between rival criminal gangs 'Los Palmeños' and 'Los Mexicanos'. No arrests have been reported. 

Five killed, three injured after shootings in Medellín

Five people were killed and three others were injured after several shootings in Medellín, Antioquia yesterday. Two people were killed and three were injured in Brasilia, Aranjuez, and three others were killed in Alejandro Echavarría, Buenos Aires. No arrests have been reported. 

Five killed, 20 injured after bus accident in Mocoa

Five people died and 20 others were injured following a bus accident in Mocoa, Putumayo yesterday morning. The incident took place on the Mocoa-Pitalito Highway at around 10:00 local time when the bus fell into a ravine. The incident remains under investigation. 

One killed, one injured after police-involved shooting in Montería

One suspect was killed and another was injured following a shootout with police in Montería, Córdoba yesterday afternoon. The incident took place between 49th Street and Carrera 4 at around 16:00 local time. The shootout ensued as

Floods due to heavy rainfall reported in Cali

Authorities in Valle de Cauca reported flooding due to heavy rainfall in Cali yesterday. The most affected areas include Los Chorros, La Sirena, Pance, Melendez, Pampalinda, San Nicolás, Plaza de Toros, El Penón, and Jamundi. 

A dozen villages cut off due to landslides and floods in Antioquia

Authorities in Antioquia reported that at least 12 villages have been cut off due to landslides and floods amid heavy rains near Apartadó yesterday. According to the statement, the worst affected villages include La Victoria, Mandarino, and Arenas Altas. 

José María Córdova Airport (MDE) closed due to emergency landing

Authorities in Antioquia reported that José María Córdova Airport (MDE), in Medellín, was closed yesterday after a LATAM plane made an emergency landing. The airport was closed at 14:15 local time after the LATAM flight had to land due to gear issues. According to reports, all flights had been either cancelled or delayed as of 22:00 local time and resumed this morning. 

Social leader shot and killed in Boyacá

A social leader was killed by armed suspects in Boyacá yesterday evening. The incident took place in Muzo, at around 22:00 local time. According to reports, the victim was the 45th social leader to be murdered in Colombia this year. No arrests have been reported. 

Three people shot and killed in Buga

Three people were shot and killed in Buga, Valle de Cauca yesterday. The incident took place inside a residence in Chambibal at an undisclosed time. No arrests have been reported. 

One FARC dissident killed, four captured after security operation in Morales

One FARC dissident was killed and four others were captured after a shootout with security forces in Morales, Bolívar yesterday. The incident occurred during a military operation in La Guácima. According to reports, security forces killed the leader of the Luis José Solano Sepúlveda Front aka 'Raul', and captured four others. Authorities seized 25m COP, military-grade weapons, ammunition, and military-grade communication equipment. 

One killed, 35 injured after explosive device detonates in Bogotá

One person was killed and 35 others were injured after an explosive device was detonated in Bogotá yesterday evening. The incident took place outside the Bolívar Police Station on Carrera 42 and 73rd Street at around 19:30 local time. According to reports, 60 residences in the vicinity were also damaged. No arrests have been reported. 

Eleven FARC dissidents killed, four arrested after shootout in Puerto Leguízamo

At least 11 FARC dissidents were killed and two others were injured following a shootout in Puerto Leguízamo earlier today. The clashes occurred as security forces clamped down on extensive coca cultivations in Putumayo, which has been controlled by FARC dissidents recently. According to reports, four FARC dissidents were arrested at the scene. 

Four people shot and killed in El Águila

Four people were shot and killed in El Águila, Valle de Cauca yesterday evening. The incident took place in La María at around 21:45 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Ocaña-Sardinata Highway closed due to landslides

Authorities in Norte de Santander reported that the Ocaña-Sardinata Highway was closed off due to landslides over the weekend in Ocaña. At around 17:15 local time, authorities opened a single lane in order to facilitate traffic movement at KM 117. 

Ammonia gas leak reported in Cali warehouse

Authorities in Valle de Cauca reported an ammonia gas leak stemming from a warehouse in Cali yesterday. The leak was reported at a fishery warehouse on 29-30 Carrera 6, in the El Porvenir neighbourhood in the early morning hours. According to reports, the leak was isolated and controlled a few hours later. 

Colombia secures $830m loan from World Bank

The government of Colombia announced that it secured two loans from the World Bank yesterday. The loans total $830m and are destined to cover Covid-19 pandemic recovery and education efforts. "Through these two loans, which are greatly relevant to Colombia, the World Bank will contribute to the general national budget and the budget of the national education ministry," Colombia's national director of planning Alejandra Botero said in a World Bank statement.

Three bodies found in Medellin

The bodies of three men have been discovered in the city of Medellin. The victims, who have been identified as Édinson Noel Pineda, 20, Darwin Alejandro Ochoa, 21, and Víctor Hugo Echeverri, 48, were found with gunshot wounds in the El Pesebre de Robledo sector. Aburra Valley Metropolitan Police have offered a reward for information about those responsible.

Three soldiers injured after armed attack in Tibú

Three soldiers were injured following an armed attack in Tibú, Norte de Santander yesterday. The incident took place in the El Tarra Military Base at around 12:00 local time. According to reports, the attack was initiated by migrant families trying to enter the property. Investigations are ongoing. 

Ongoing shootout reported in Fortul

Authorities in Arauca reported an ongoing shootout between security forces and criminal groups in Fortul earlier today. The shootout was reported at 6th Street and Carrera 29, in the 12 de Octubre neighbourhood, after a car bomb detonated in the area. 

Tos Ferina virus kills 40 children in La Guajira

Authorities in La Guajira reported that at least 40 children died due to a suspected infection from the Tos Ferina virus in Taminaka over the weekend. According to reports, the children reported high fevers, coughing, diarrhea, and vomiting before they fell victims to the virus. 

One killed, one injured during armed robbery in Cali

One person was killed and another was injured during an attempted robbery in Cali, Valle de Cauca yesterday morning. The incident took place in Bochalema at around 09:00 local time. According to reports, the suspect was injured and arrested by police at the scene. 

One killed, two injured after clashes in Teorama

One soldier was killed and two others were injured following clashes between security forces and ELN members in Teorama, Norte de Santander yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in El Juncal at around 16:45 local time as the National Army patrolled the area. 

Mass displacement due to gang violence in Simití

Authorities in the province of Bolívar reported mass displacement in Simití due to recent violent incidents between armed groups in the area. According to reports, more than 100 people have been evacuated due to clashes between rival gangs and the recent murder of a couple inside their home in El Diamante. Security forces were deployed to the area. 

Two people killed after security operation in Ituango

One soldier and one FARC dissident were killed during clashes in Ituango, Antioquia yesterday. The incident took place in El Río, where the Army's Seventh Division ran an operation against 'The 18th Front'. Two FARC dissidents were captured after the clashes. 

Three alleged FARC dissidents killed by security forces in Guaviare

Three alleged FARC dissidents were killed by security forces in San José del Guaviare, Guaviare yesterday evening. The incident occurred as a security operation in Puerto Cachicamo was being executed due to high crime rates in the area. 

Two bridges, roads and homes damaged due to heavy rains in Tolima

Authorities in Tolima reported that two bridges, several roads, and dozens of properties were damaged due to rising river water levels amid heavy rains in Planadas yesterday. According to reports, the affected areas were Bilbao, El Porvenir, and Betulia. 

Two killed, one injured after shooting in Cartago

Two people were killed and another was injured following a shooting in Cartago, Valle de Cauca yesterday afternoon. The incident took place on 14th Street and Carrera 9 at around 15:30 local time. No arrests have been reported.

Sections of National Route 45 closed due to heavy rainfall

Authorities in Huila reported that a section of National Route 45 was closed after a bridge was damaged earlier today. The damage was reported in El Arenoso Bridge between Neiva and Rivera due to heavy rainfall, shutting down KM 108 of the highway. Authorities suggested taking Neiva-Juncal-Rivera as alternative routes. 

Two people shot and killed in Medellín

Two people were shot and killed in Laureles, Medellín yesterday morning. The incident took place on Carrera 78 and 34th Street at around 16:30 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Three people shot and killed in Santa Marta

Three people were shot and killed in Santa Marta, Magdalena yesterday. The incident took place in Gaira at around 13:00 local time. According to reports, the victims were shot at by gunmen travelling on motorcycles. No arrests have been reported. 

National Electoral Council suffers cyberattack on election day

Authorities in Colombia reported that the National Electoral Council's office was targeted by cyberattacks yesterday, which was voting day for parliamentary elections. Alexander Vega, the national registrar, reported the attack and said the incident remains under investigation. 

Four alleged criminals killed in Cúcuta

Four suspects were shot and killed during a military operation in Cúcuta, Norte de Santander yesterday. The incident occurred at around 21:00 local time when police executed a raid against the Gulf Clan. According to reports, the leader of the Central Urabá structure was amongst the victims. 

Two killed, two injured after armed attack in La Macarena

Two soldiers were killed and two others were injured following an armed attack in La Macarena, Meta yesterday. The incident took place in La Cristalina and La Novia Celestial, two neighbouring villages in Caqueta. According to reports, the soldiers were ambushed by armed criminals as they patrolled through San Vicente del Caguán. No arrests have been reported. 

Civilian shot and killed in Bello

One person was shot and killed during an armed robbery in Bello, Antioquia yesterday morning. The incident took place in Valadares at around 11:45 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Three injured during clashes at protest in Medellín

Three people were injured during clashes between police and demonstrators in Medellín, Antioquia yesterday. The clashes occurred in Oriental Avenue during the Women's Day rally. According to police, the protesters engaged in vandalism at Metrobus stations and buses. 

One killed, one injured after armed attack in Norte de Santander

One person was killed and another was injured following an armed attack in Norte de Santander yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at a service station at Vía Cúcuta on KM 61 of the Sardinata-Ocaña Highway at around 14:30 local time. No arrests have been reported.

La Linea Road closed off due to landslides in Calcarcá

Authorities in the province of Quindio reported that a section of the La Linea Road was closed off due to landslides near Calarcá yesterday. According to reports, the heavy rains caused flooding and several homes to collapse. 

Two foreigners shot and killed in Pueblo Nuevo

Two people were shot and killed in Pueblo Nuevo, Arauquita yesterday morning. The incident took place in the 'El Paisa' car wash at around 09:30 local time. According to reports, the victims were two Venezuelan nationals. No arrests have been reported. 

Thousands displaced by avalanche in Murindó

Authorities in Antioquia reported that at least 2,500 people were affected by an avalanche in Murindó yesterday. The avalanche was caused by heavy rains in the area. The local government in Antioquia put around 70 percent of the territory on high alert due to possible landslides. 

Six killed after ELN v FARC dissident clashes in Argelia

Six people were killed during clashes between the ELN and FARC dissidents in Argelia, Cauca yesterday. The clash was reported in the Santa Clara village during the afternoon. No arrests have been reported. 

One killed, one kidnapped, two arrested after security operation in Serranía del Chiribiquete

One person was killed and another was kidnapped following a security operation in Serranía del Chiribiquete, Guaviare yesterday. The incident took place in the Serranía del Chiribiquete National Park as security officials executed an operation against deforestation. Two suspects were arrested during the operation. 

Political activist shot and killed in Convención

One person was shot and killed in Convención, Norte de Santander yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at the victim's home at around 15:00 local time. According to reports, the victim was a political activist. No arrests have been reported. 

ELN extends armed strike

The ELN announced that it will extend its armed strike in Colombia until at least 4 March. The armed strike is expected to last until tomorrow at 06:00 local time. The strike was originally expected to conclude on 28 February, but the ELN said attacks in El Cesar and Antioquia will continue. 

Guatemalan national shot and killed in Medellín

One person was shot and killed in Medellín, Antioquia yesterday evening. The incident took place in the Las Palmas neighbourhood at around 19:30 local time. According to reports, the victim was a Guatemalan national. No arrests have been reported. 

Protest against abortion decriminasilation reported in Cali

Authorities in Valle de Cauca reported a 600-strong protest march in Cali yesterday. The demonstrators marched from Las Banderas Park down 5th Street towards Plazoleta de San Francisco, in order to protest the court's recent decision to decriminalise abortion in the country. No injuries were reported. 

One dead, three injured after heavy rains damage Cocorná

One person died and three others have been injured due to city damages caused by heavy rains in Cocorná, Antioquia yesterday. Authorities in the city reported around 34 landslides in the city and several damages caused to the infrastructure. 

Environmental emergency declared in Nariño after oil spill

Authorities in the department of Nariño declared an environmental emergency after an oil pipeline was attacked in Mallama over the weekend. The incident took place in El Arco at an undisclosed time. Due to the attack, the municipalities of Mallama, Ricaurte, Barbacoas, and Tumaco have been alerted due to possible contamination of water sources caused by the oil spill. 

Police officer shot and killed in San Pablo

A policeman was shot and killed in San Pablo, Bolívar yesterday. The incident took place in Magdalena, where the police officer had been conducting investigations on the Gulf Clan. According to reports, two armed men on motorcycles passed by and shot the officer. No arrests have been reported. 

Group of 16 migrants kidnapped in Buenaventura

Authorities in Valle de Cauca reported that 16 migrants were kidnapped by the Gulf Clan in Buenaventura yesterday. The incident occurred in Commune 6 of the Gamboa sector. According to the Colombian Army, they rescued the migrants after a security operation. Two alleged Gulf Clan members were arrested. 

One killed, two injured after armed attack in Soledad

One person was killed and two others were injured following an armed attack in Soledad, Atlántico yesterday. The incident took place at the intersection of Carrera 15 and Calle 61 A, in the Rosales neighbourhood, at an undisclosed time. According to reports, subjects riding motorcycles threw grenades against a store. Police believe the incident to be a reckoning between criminal groups. No arrests have been reported. 

Landslides and flooding reported in Valle de Cauca

Authorities in Colombia announced that landslides due to heavy rains were reported across seven municipalities in Valle de Cauca yesterday. The affected municipalities include Ginebra, Palmira, Caicedonia, El Cerrito, Buga, Dagua, and Tulua. Additionally, flooding was reported in Santiago de Cali, substantially hindering its road transport infrastructure. 

Eight dead, seven missing after mine explosion in Boyacá

At least eight people have been confirmed dead and seven others remain missing after a mine explosion in Boyacá on Saturday. The incident was reported at the La Chapa mine, between Tasco and Socha at an undisclosed time. The figures were reported by the National Mining Agency (ANM) after 15 people had been reported missing initially. 

Security operation in Puerto Rondón leaves 23 dead

Authorities in the province of Arauca reported that 23 FARC dissidents were killed yesterday in Puerto Rondón. The incident occurred as a security operation was carried out by the National Army during the early morning hours after air support located a suspected FARC dissident headquarters. 

Two people killed in Medellín shooting

Two people were shot and killed during an armed attack in Medellín, Antioquia yesterday evening. The incident took place in a bar located in the city centre at around 23:00 local time. According to reports, several armed gunmen stormed in and shot at the victims before fleeing. No arrests have been reported. 

Colombia passes bill decriminalizing abortion

Colombia's constitutional court passed a bill decriminalizing abortion until 24 weeks of gestation on Monday morning. Abortion had been partially legalised in Colombia in 2006 exclusively in cases of rape; Colombia now joined Mexico and Ecuador in the latest legalisation moves in Latin America. "The practice of abortion will only be punishable when it is conducted after the twenty-fourth week of gestation and, in all cases, this time limit will not apply to the three conditions laid out in Ruling C-355 of 2006," said the court's statement. 

Two people shot and killed in Cucutá

Two people were shot and killed in Norte de Santander yesterday. The incident took place in Cucutá, near the border with Venezuela at an undisclosed time. The Cúcuta Metropolitan Police reported that they reinforced operations in the area after four people were killed on 17 February as the presence of criminal gangs using smuggling routes has been rising. 

Clashes between protesters and police in Bogotá

Authorities in Colombia reported clashes between police and protesters in Bogotá on Saturday afternoon. The incident occurred at around 12:00 local time during an anti-communism forum, in which delegates of the Spanish Vox party were victims of stone-pelting, damaging the hotel. According to police, at least eight protesters were arrested. 

Five ELN members injured after clashes with security forces in Cúcuta

Five ELN members were injured following clashes with security forces in Cúcuta, Norte de Santander yesterday morning. The incident took place in the Aguaclara village at around 03:00 local time after ELN members reportedly attacked a police station using grenades and firearms. No arrests have been reported. 

Three Army officers injured after ELN ambush in Teorama

Authorities in Norte de Santander reported that three Army personnel were injured after being ambushed by ELN members in Teorama yesterday evening. The incident took place in the San Francisco village during the early morning hours as they patrolled the area. No arrests have been reported. 

Four people injured, five properties damaged due to explosive in El Tambo

Four people were injured and some five properties suffered damages after an explosive device was detonated in El Tambo, Cauca yesterday evening. The incident took place in Piedra de Bolívar at around 18.30 local time. Police have yet to identify any suspects and have launched an investigation into the incident. 


Rescue efforts save 44 people after boat collision in Magangué

Authorities in Bolívar reported that 44 people were rescued after two boats collided in Magangué yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in the Magdalena River at around 12:30 local time. According to reports, the incident occurred as a passenger boat and a cargo boat collided in the Madrid area. 

Fire reported in Cartagena marketplace

A fire broke out at a market in Cartagena, Bolívar yesterday evening. The fire was reported in the Bazurto marketplace, in the Globo Centro sector, at around 18:15 local time. All shoppers were evacuated promptly and no injuries were reported. 

Local community leader kidnapped in Ocaña

A local community leader was reportedly kidnapped in Ocaña, Norte de Santander yesterday. The incident occurred on the road between Ocana and Teorama at an undisclosed time. The kidnappers have yet to communicate with authorities. 

Three killed, one injured after armed attack in Remedios

Three people were killed and another was injured following an armed attack in Remedios, Antioquia yesterday evening, The incident took place in the El Matadero neighborhood at around 19:00 local time. According to police, the incident is a follow-up to a similar incident in the neighbourhood on 7 February. 

Three people shot and killed in Neiva

Three people were killed by unidentified armed suspects in Neiva, Huila yesterday evening. The incident took place in Aipecito at around 21:30 local time. Police said the incident was a part of a criminal gang dispute in the area. No arrests have been reported. 

Maximum alert reported due to ELN child recruitment in Chocó

Authorities in Chocó announced a maximum alert due to the forced recruitment of children by the ELN yesterday. According to the statement, 57 indigenous families have reported the ELN recruiting minors from schools and social networks offering them false money and employment. The city of Cauqetá has been the most affected with 33 children recruited from their area. 

Two people kidnapped in Tame

Two people were kidnapped by unidentified suspects in Tame, Arauca yesterday evening. The incident took place on Betoyes Street and Flor Amarillo Road at around 21:15 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Four people shot and killed in Arequita

Four people were shot and killed in Araquita, Arauca yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at around 16:15 local time. Police said the four victims were Venezuelan FARC dissidents, and believe that the incident was part of a criminal gang dispute. No arrests have been reported. 

Civilian shot and killed in Cali

One person was shot and killed in Cali, Valle de Cauca yesterday evening. The incident took place on Carrera 74 and 38th Street, in the El Caney neighbourhood, at around 21:15 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

One killed, three injured after police station attack in Puerto Libertador

One person was killed and three others were injured after a police station was attacked in Puerto Libertador, Córdoba earlier today. The incident occurred in the Las Claritas trail at around 07:30 local time when an ELN cell attacked the local police station with explosives and gunfire. 

Two FARC dissident vehicles armed with explosives discovered in Tibú

Authorities in Norte de Santander reported that security forces discovered and safely disarmed two vehicles loaded with explosives in Tibú yesterday. The vehicles were discovered near the Campo Dos Military Base, in the Los Pinos neighbourhood. The National Army said the vehicles were marked with FARC dissident signs. 

Damages due to landslides reported in Bucamaranga

Authorities in Santander reported that streets and houses were flooded and damaged due to heavy rains in Bucamaranga yesterday. According to the statement, the worst affected areas have been Mutualidad, Villas de Girardot, and Las Transitions. Additionally, a landslide was reported in Villas de Girardot. 

Four people shot and killed in Putumayo

Four people were killed in Putumayo on Saturday morning. Two of the victims were social leaders killed in El Basal at an undisclosed time and two others were farmers who got attacked inside their farm in Fortul at around 11:45 local time. According to reports, 19 social leaders have been killed in Colombia this year. No arrests have been reported. 

Three people shot and killed in Angostura

Three people were shot and killed in Angostura, Antioquia yesterday. The incident took place in San Alejandro at an undisclosed time. According to reports, this marks the 17th massacre in Colombia this year. No arrests have been reported. 

Large wildfires reported in Caqueta, Meta and Guaviare

Authorities in Colombia reported intense wildfires in the Amazon region. The burning is occurring in Colombia's "arc of deforestation" in the provinces of Caqueta, Meta, and Guaviare, which hosts national parks and parts of the Amazon rainforest. "The intensity of the fires is greater than we've seen for many years," Rodrigo Botero, director-general of the Foundation for Conservation and Sustainable Development (FCDS) said in an interview. "That is a very alarming sign."

Police officer shot and killed after FARC sniper attack in Tibú

One police officer was shot and killed after a FARC sniper attack in Tibú, Norte de Santander yesterday afternoon. The incident took place on La Gabarra Road, in Refinería, at around 15:15 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Local municipal president of Córdoba shot and killed in Narino

The local municipal council president of Córdoba was shot and killed yesterday by an unidentified suspect in Guitungal, Narino yesterday evening. The incident took place at the victim's home at around 20:30 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Two civilians kidnapped, four arrested in Medellín

Two civilians were kidnapped on 25 January in Medellín, Antioquia. The kidnapping took place in Olaya Herrera at around 14:00 local time. Security forces executed a rescue operation and arrested four individuals after releasing both hostages. 

At least nine Gulf Clan members killed in security operation

Authorities in Antioquia reported that at least nine Gulf Clan members were killed in an operation carried out by Colombian security forces in Ituango yesterday. The operation was executed in El Socorro, which had seen an increased presence of drug trafficking gangs and violence recently. 

Seven police officers injured after ELN grenade attack in Anori

Seven police officers were injured after they suffered a grenade attack in Anori, Antioquia on Monday evening. The incident took place as the officers patrolled the village of La Plancha and were ambushed by presumed ELN members. No arrests have been reported. 

Two killed, one missing after FARC dissident clashes in Olaya Herrera

Two people were killed and another is missing after clashes between two armed groups in Olaya Herrera, Narino earlier today. The incident took place in Tangaria at an undisclosed time between two FARC dissident groups known as 'Franco Benavides' and 'The Western Bloc' who are reportedly disputing drug trafficking routes in the area. Police believe the total extent of the casualties and damage will increase after an investigation. 

Four people killed in Timbiquí massacre

Four people were killed in a massacre in Timbiquí, Cauca on Friday evening. The incident marks the second massacre in Cauca, and the 13th in Colombia this year. The Ombudsman's Office issued a violence warning for Guapi, López de Micay, and Timbiquí due to the expansion of armed criminals in the area. 

Four FARC dissidents killed in clashes with Army in El Tambo

Four FARC dissidents were killed in clashes with the National Army near El Tambo, Valle de Cauca yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in Baraya, at around 16:00 local time. According to reports, the clashes were produced during an operation executed by the National Army against criminal activity in the area. 

One soldier killed, 20 others injured after ELN guerrilla attacks

A soldier was killed and 20 others were injured after two guerilla attacks in Cesar and Norte de Santander earlier today. The first incident occurred in the Chiriguaná Military Base where a soldier died and another was injured. The second attack occurred in the El Juncal Military Base where 19 soldiers were injured. A third attack with no injuries was reported in Pailitas. According to the military, the attacks were perpetrated by the ELN guerrilla group. 

Community worker shot and killed in Tame

One person was shot and killed by unidentified suspects in Tame, Arauca yesterday evening. The incident took place on 14th Street at around 21:00 local time. According to reports, the victim was identified as the President of the Saravena Community Action Board. No arrests have been reported. 

Two people dead after landslides in Palocabildo

Two people died after landslides occurred in Palocabildo, Tolima yesterday. The landslide was reported at dawn after it reportedly hit a house in the Guali neighbourhood. According to reports, around 25 villages were cut off after the landslides took over the road towards Falán in Palocabildo. 

Security force vehicles targeted with explosive devices in Tibú

Authorities in Norte de Santander reported that several of their security forces vehicles were targeted with explosive devices yesterday. The incident took place on the road between Tibú and Campo Dos, at around 14:30 local time. No injuries were reported. 

Three people kidnapped in Saravena

Three people were reportedly kidnapped by unidentified armed suspects in Saravena, Arauca yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in Puerto Narino at around 13:00 local time. According to police, the kidnappers have yet to contact authorities or the victims' families.  

Three people shot and killed by ELN in Ocaña

Three people were killed in a shooting in Ocaña, Norte de Santander on Friday evening. The incident took place on the road connecting Las Chircas with San Calixto at around 21:00 local time. According to reports, the ELN is responsible for the incident. No arrests have been reported. 

Six people kidnapped by ELN gunmen in Arauca

Six people were kidnapped in Tame, Arauca on Saturday afternoon. The incident took place in the village of Botalón at around 14:00 local time. According to reports, a group of armed ELN personnel forced people onto vans and drove away. No arrests have been reported. 

At least two killed, four injured following car bomb explosion in Saravena

At least two people were killed and four others were injured following a car bomb explosion in Saravena, Arauca yesterday evening. The incident occurred near the headquarters of the municipality's social organizations at around 22:30 local time. The incident remains under investigation. 

Two soldiers killed, one injured after Gulf Clan attack in El Bagre

Two soldiers were killed and another was injured following an explosion in El Bagre, Antioquia earlier this morning. The incident took place in Puerto Claver at around 02:00 local time. According to police, members of the Gulf Clan were responsible for the attack. No arrests have been reported. 

Former FARC captive to run for presidency

A former FARC captive, Ingrid Betancourt, announced that she will run in Colombia's presidential election upcoming in May. The centrist former senator was abducted in 2002 whilst campaigning for the presidency and was reportedly held in the jungle for over six years before being rescued by the National Army. 

Two killed, one injured after hitman attack in Sitionuevo

Two people were killed and another was injured following an armed attack in Sitionuevo, Magdalena yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in Palermo at around 13:30 local time. According to reports, two people were attacked by a hitman, who was killed in the action. 

Two indigenous people killed, one injured after FARC dissident attack in Buenos Aires

Two indigenous people were killed and another was injured after a FARC dissident attack in Buenos Aires, Cauca yesterday. The incident took place in Las Delicias at an undisclosed time. According to reports, the militants opened fire on a routine patrol in the area. No arrests have been reported. 

Civilian shot and killed by the AGC in Pueblo Bello

One person was shot and killed in Pueblo Bello, Cesar yesterday morning. The incident took place in the Minas de Iracal trail during the early morning hours. According to reports, the attack was perpetrated by a cell from the Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia (AGC) armed group. No arrests have been reported. 

Three security force personnel injured after attack in Tibú

Three security force personnel were injured after an armed attack in Tibú, Norte de Santander yesterday. The incident took place in the La Cuatro military checkpoint at around 18:00 local time. According to reports, the military men were attacked by two unidentified suspects who deployed explosive devices at the checkpoint. No arrests have been reported. 

At least 78 human rights defenders killed in Colombia in 2021 according to UN

At least 78 human rights defenders were killed in Colombia in 2021 according to a UN Human Rights agency's report that was published earlier today. The government accused left-wing guerrillas from the National Liberation Army (ELN) and FARC dissidents of attacking activists as they seek control of drug trafficking networks and mining areas. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said it received 202 reports of human rights leaders killed in Colombia last year.

Two police officers killed, civilian injured after FARC dissident attack in Lejanías

At least two police officers were killed and a civilian was injured following an armed attack in Lejanías, Meta yesterday evening. The incident took place in the Central Market at around 19:00 local time. According to police, the attack was perpetrated by FARC dissidents. No arrests have been reported. 

Five hospitals in Antioquia declare state of emergency

Five hospitals in Antioquia declared a state of emergency after their medical and emergency services collapsed on Saturday afternoon. According to the statement, the hospitals will be limiting their services due to supplies and oxygen shortages. The declaration was made by La Estrella Hospital and the University Hospital. The Santa María and San Antonio hospitals declared a 'Red Alert', which will last until at least 15 January. 

Police officers wounded in ELN bomb attack, Cali

Three police officers have been seriously wounded in a bomb attack in the city of Cali. The National Liberation Army (ELN) has claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place near the National Police's intelligence office on Friday evening. President Ivan Duque condemned the “cowardly terrorist attack” and said General Jorge Luis Vargas, the director of the National Police, has been sent to the city.

Violent protest reported in Bogotá

A violent protest was reported in Bogotá yesterday evening. Police reportedly fired stun grenades and tear gas shells in order to disperse the protesters in Molinos. The protesters were reportedly demonstrating against the increase in fare to Bogotás TransMilenio transport system. 

Seven killed, 33 injured following traffic collision in Salento

Seven people were killed and 33 others were injured following a traffic collision in Salento, Quindío yesterday afternoon. The incident took place inside the Los Venados de la Vía tunnel, at around 14:00 local time. According to reports, a semi-truck that experienced a brake failure crashed into several vehicles inside the tunnel. 

Sixteen killed in clashes between rebel groups

At least 16 people have been killed in clashes between rebel groups near the border with Venezuela. Dissidents from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) exchanged fire in the eastern Arauca department. Colombia’s human rights ombudsman’s office expressed “deep concern for the escalation of the armed conflict in Arauca due to the confrontation between illegal armed groups that put the civilian population at grave risk”. Local officials warned that the death toll could rise sharply.

Seven killed, more than 120 displaced after FARC dissident clashes in Puerto Leguízamo

Seven people were killed and more than 120 people were displaced after an armed confrontation between FARC dissidents in Puerto Leguízamo, Putumayo on Monday afternoon. The incident took place in the indigenous community of Bellavista at around 15:00 local time. According to reports, the clashes occurred between the Estructura 48 Comandos de Frontera and Estructura Carolina Ramírez groups. 

Traffic and public transport disrupted by demonstrations in Bogotá

Authorities in Bogotá reported that TransMilenio public bus transport services and traffic were disrupted due to a demonstration yesterday evening. The demonstration began at around 18:30 local time on 40th St South with Carrera 86C and reportedly led to the closure of a road lane and the Portal de las Américas, and Patio Bonito stations. 

Three people killed, two others missing after boat capsized in Punta Piña

Three people died and two others were reported missing after a boat capsized off the coast of Punta Piña, Juradó yesterday. According to the mayor of Juradó, local authorities managed to rescue 11 people from the accident. The boat was reportedly transporting migrants to the Chocó region. 

Residents protest lack of government response to dengue spread in Cartagena

Authorities in the province of Bolívar reported that a group of residents held a protest march in Cartagena yesterday afternoon. The protesters marched from the Ricaurte sector to Pedro Romero Avenue, and finally, the Olympic Village urging the government to adopt better measures to control the spread of dengue in Olaya Herrera and Cartagena. 

One killed, two injured in Bucamaranga shooting

One person was killed and two others were injured following a shooting in Bucamaranga, Santander earlier today. The incident took place on Carrera 14 and 28th Street at around 02:00 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Three people killed after explosion at Camilo Daza International Airport (CUC)

At least two police officers and one suspect have been killed after a bomb explosion at Camilo Daza International Airport (CUC) in Cúcuta, Norte de Santander earlier today. The explosion took place at around 05:45 local time after the suspected attacker reportedly crossed a wire fence in order to access the runway, killing him on the spot. Shortly after, bomb experts surveyed the area and found a suitcase that exploded and killed two officers. Flights have been suspended at the airport. 

One killed, five injured in Betulia shooting

One person was killed and five others were injured during an armed attack in Betulia, Antioquia on Saturday evening. The incident took place on 20th Street, in the Barrio Antionio Nariño neighbourhood, at around 21:00 local time. After the incident, authorities announced a public security reinforcement in the area. No arrests have been reported. 

One killed, two injured after attack on Naval Infantry in Cartagena del Chairá

Yesterday, one person was killed and two others were injured following an attack on Naval infantry personnel in Cartagena del Chairá, Caqueta. According to reports, the attack was perpetrated by members of the Residual Organized Armed Groups (GAOR) near El Sol Stadium. No arrests have been reported. 

At least four civilians injured after FARC dissident clashes in Argelia

Yesterday, at least four civilians were injured after an explosive device went off during clashes between FARC dissidents and Colombian security forces in Argelia, Valle de Cauca. The incident took place in the Puerto Rico neighbourhood, at around 22:30 local time. Police said they were fighting the 'Carlos Patiño' faction when they dropped explosives through the air, injuring several civilians and their damaging their homes. 

US DoS issues 'Level 3: Reconsider Travel' alert for Colombia

The US Department of State issued a 'Level 3: Reconsider Travel' advisory for Colombia yesterday morning. The alert comes amid rising rates of Covid-19, crime, and kidnappings. The DoS statement advised exercising increased caution due to civil unrest, terrorism, and potential kidnapping. 

One person shot and killed in Ciénaga

One person was shot and killed in Ciénaga, Magdalena earlier this morning. The incident took place on 11th Street and Carrera 1 at around 02:00 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Secret Service (UPP) agent shot and killed in Barranquilla

One person was shot and killed in Barranquilla, Atlántico yesterday evening. The incident took place on 45th Street and Carrera 1J, in the Ciudadela 20 de Julio neighbourhood, at around 19:30 local time. According to reports, the victim was an off-duty secret service (UPP) agent. No arrests have been reported. 

Four civilians and one police officer injured after clashes in Cartago

Five people were injured, including four civilians and one police officer, following clashes between residents and police in Cartago, Valle de Cauca yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in the El Cipres neighbourhood at around 15:00 local time after residents reportedly attempted to prevent police from carrying out an anti-drug-trafficking operation in the area. 

One killed, six injured in La Esperanza nightclub shooting

One person was killed and six others were injured following a shooting in La Esperanza, Norte de Santander yesterday evening. The incident took place at the 'Ruta 45' nightclub on La Pedregosa St at around 23:30 local time. According to witnesses, a couple of armed suspects opened fire indiscriminately as part of a reckoning with the owners. No arrests have been reported. 

Shootout reported after FARC dissidents attack police station in Morales

Authorities in Cauca reported that a group of FARC dissidents attacked the police station in Morales yesterday. According to reports, the attackers then retreated into the mountains where fighting resumed with army troops. Fighting then subdued later in the morning hours. No police or army casualties were reported. 

Ten Gulf Clan members arrested after security operation in Sucre

Authorities in Sucre reported that a security operation saw the arrest of ten Gulf Clan members yesterday morning. The raids took place in several municipalities in Sucre, which police had flagged to hosting drug trafficking activity, namely Tolú, Toluviejo, Coveñas, San Onofre, Sampués, and Sincelejo. 

Two killed, one injured after armed assault in Tarazá

Two people were killed and another was injured following an armed assault in Tarazá, Antioquia yesterday. The incident took place in the El Doce neighbourhood at around 05:00 local time. No arrests have been reported.

Security operation arrests 11 alleged criminals in Villavieja and La Guajira

A joint operation between the Police and the National Army resulted in the arrest of three ELN members and eight Gulf Clan members in Villavieja and La Guajira yesterday morning. The operation aimed at tackling criminal activity and took place simultaneously in Huila and Riohacha. Police said both groups were in possession of "important war material, supplies and cash". 

US removes FARC terrorist designation, adds dissident groups

The US government announced that it removed its designation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as a foreign terrorist organization. The announcement was made by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who said that two dissident groups that have formed out of FARC, namely 'La Segunda Marquetalia' and 'FARC-EP' would be designated as foreign terrorist organizations. 

Three FARC dissidents killed, two arrested after military operation in Argelia

The Colombian military announced that three FARC dissidents were killed and two others were arrested following a military operation in Argelia, Cauca earlier today. The incident took place in the region of Puerto Rico in the early morning hours. According to the statement, the operation led to a shootout, before the army seized 18 mines, 18 detonators, around 500 cartridges, rifles, and pistols from the scene. 

Two arrested, 25 injured during clashes between police and protesters in Bogotá

Two people were arrested and 25 others were injured amid clashes between police and protesters in Bogotá yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at the transport hub in Portal Americas where individuals reportedly threw stones and Molotov cocktails at police. According to reports, violence has escalated as rioters use more dangerous tools such as bladed weapons during the clashes. 

Two indigenous community members shot and killed in Caldono

Two people were shot and killed in Caldono, Cauca yesterday. The victims were two indigenous community members who were shot in the La Cucharita neighbourhood. Police believe the Dagoberto Ramoz Ortiz criminal structure, who operates in the area, is responsible for the incident. No arrests have been made. 

Clashes reported in Bogotá amid protests and traffic disruptions

Authorities in Bogotá reported clashes between protesters and police in several areas of the city earlier today. According to reports, most clashes occurred in Usme, in the Yomasa and Santa Librada sectors when groups of protesters vandalized public transport vehicles. Police responded to the acts which led to the clashes. Traffic disruptions are expected to continue through the day. 

Two people kidnapped in Arauca

Two people were reportedly kidnapped by armed individuals in Arauca yesterday morning. The incident took place in Villa María, near Tame, at around 05:00 local time. The victims were reportedly a psychologist and a farmer. Kidnappers have yet to contact authorities or the victims' families. 

Two killed, two arrested after shootout with police in Ibagué

Two police officers were killed in a shooting in Ibagué, Tolima yesterday morning. The incident took place at around 02:00 local time when armed individuals opened fire against police during a chase. Both victims were police officers, and two suspects were arrested after the shootout. 

Two killed, two arrested after shootout in Buenaventura

Two people were killed during a shooting in Buenaventura, Valle de Cauca earlier today. The incident took place in the Juan XXIII neighbourhood at around 02:00 local time. According to police, the incident was a shootout between 'Los Espartanos' and 'Los Chotas' criminal gangs who vie for control of the drug traffic in the city. Police arrested two suspects at the scene. 

Three soldiers killed after guerilla ambush in Teorama

Three soldiers were killed after an ambush in Teorama, Norte de Santander earlier today. The incident took place near the Caño Limón Coveñas oil pipe in the Campo Alegre trail at around 01:00 local time. According to reports, the ambush was perpetrated by ELN guerrilla groups, who have been targeting strategic energy assets in recent weeks. 

One killed, two arrested after civilian clashes in Medellín

One person was killed and two others were arrested following clashes between football fans in Medellín, Antioquia yesterday evening. The incident took place in the Laureles-Estadio area, in the Florida Nueva neighbourhood at around 00:00 local time. 

Several public transport stations shut down due to clashes in Bogotá

Authorities in Bogotá reported clashes between police and protesters yesterday evening. The clashes took place at several public transport terminals in central Bogotá amid social protests at around 20:30 local time. Authorities were reportedly forced to shut down public transport at the Americas portal of TransMilenio with Ciudad de Cali Ave, as well as the Bonito, Tintal, and Transversal 86 Library stations. 

Three police officers killed, two injured after helicopter crash in Subachoque

Three police officers were killed and another two were injured following a helicopter crash near Subachoque, Cundinamarca on Saturday afternoon. The accident took place in the La Yeguera village at around 13:30 local time. The officers were reportedly executing an anti-narcotics operation at the time of the accident, which remains under investigation. 

Two killed, one injured after robbery in Cali

Two people were killed and another was injured during a robbery in Cali, Valle de Cauca yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in a shop on Carrera 42A and Ciudad de Cali Ave, in the Ciudad Córdoba neighbourhood at around 15:30 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

One person shot and killed in Santa Marta

One person was killed in a shooting in Santa Marta, Magdalena yesterday evening. The incident took place in the Ciudad Equidad sector at around 22:00 local time. According to reports, the victim was sitting in a slot machine when a gunman approached him and shot him from behind. No arrests have been reported. 

Government imposes security curfew in Guarne

The local government of Antioquia reported the imposition of a curfew in the city of Guarne yesterday morning. The curfew comes amid an increase of violence, drug trafficking, and robberies in the area, particularly on the Medellín-Bogotá Highway. The measure is scheduled to remain in place until at least 15 December.

Health Ministry issued epidemiological alert over spike in dengue cases

Colombia's Health Ministry issued an epidemiological alert citing an unusually high number of dengue cases in 52 municipalities across the country. The Health Ministry warned that prevention and control measures must be implemented before the situation worsens in 2022, and mentioned that Barranquilla, Cartagena, Santa Martha, and Buenaventura are amongst the riskiest places at the moment. 

US Embassy issues security alert in Cartagena

The US Embassy in Cartagena, Bolívar issued a security alert due to increased rates in the area earlier today. The US Embassy had issued an earlier alert advising caution in Centro Comercial Caribe Plaza, Southern Cartagena, and the Chambacu neighbourhood due to high crime rates; the security alert has now been extended throughout all of Cartagena. 

Three people killed after armed attack in Ciudad Bolivar

Three people were killed following an armed attack in Ciudad Bolívar, Antioquia yesterday evening. The incident took place in the Bernardo de los Farallones de Citara district at around 22:00 local time. Authorities pointed out that six notorious criminal gangs operate in the area, and said the incident was the result of ongoing disputes between them. No arrests have been reported. 

One killed, one injured in Medellín shooting

One person was killed and another was injured during a shooting incident in Medellín, Antioquia yesterday evening. The incident took place on 49A Street and Carrera 99C in the Barrio Juan XXIII neighbourhood at around 21:00 local time. No arrests have been reported. 


Two police officers killed following armed attack in Bahía Solano

Two police officers were shot and killed during an armed attack in Bahía Solano, Choco yesterday evening. The incident took place inside a restaurant next to the Bahía Solano police station at around 19:00 local time. According to police, the attack was in retaliation to the operations carried out earlier by police against the Clan del Golfo. No arrests have been reported. 

Three FARC dissidents shot and killed in El Retorno

Three FARC dissident drug trafficking suspects were shot and killed in El Retorno, Guaviare yesterday evening. The incident took place in La Paz at around 21:00 local time. According to police, the incident was a clash between drug trafficking criminal groups. No arrests have been reported. 

One killed, one injured, two arrested following attempted robbery in Bogotá nightclub

One person was killed, another was injured and two suspects were arrested following an attempted robbery incident in Bogotá, Capital District earlier today. The incident took place outside a nightclub at the intersection of 69th Street and Carrera 11, in the Chapinero neighbourhood at around 01:30 local time. According to reports, a security guard shot both suspects at the scene before he was arrested as an investigation unfolds. 

Community social leader stabbed to death in Montelíbano

One person was stabbed to death in Montelíbano, Córdoba yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in the victim's house on Vereda San Antonio at around 14:00 local time. According to reports, the victim was a community social leader. His murder marks the 150th homicide against social activists in Colombia this year. 

Seven civilians kidnapped by FARC dissidents in El Tarra

Authorities in Norte de Santander reported that seven civilians were kidnapped by FARC dissidents in El Tarra yesterday. The kidnappers, a group known as 'Frente 33', released a video showing the victims and their situation. Police are still trying to properly identify the victims in order to make an attempt at a rescue. 

Two police officers injured, eleven suspects arrested in Medellín robbery

Eleven people were arrested following a robbery attempt in Medellín, Antioquia yesterday evening. The incident took place on Las Vegas Ave, on Carrera 48 and 16th St at around 21:00 local time. According to reports, 20 heavily-armed criminals began shooting at police when they arrived as the robbery ensued, injuring two officers. 

Two people shot and killed in Corinto shooting

Two people were killed in a shooting in Corinto, Cauca yesterday evening. The incident took place in the Mira Valle sector at around 22:00 local time. According to reports, the victims were attacked by armed individuals as they travelled by motorcycle. Police said the region has had a strong presence of the Dagoberto Ramos, a FARC-dissident criminal structure. No arrests have been reported. 

Colombia signs bilateral defense cooperation agreement with Germany

The government of Colombia announced signing a bilateral defense cooperation agreement with the government of Germany yesterday morning. Following the signing, Colombia became the first Latin American country to form a security cooperation agreement with Germany. 

One person killed in Villanueva shooting incident

One person was killed during a shooting in Villanueva, La Guajira yesterday evening. The incident took place in the Pompilio Daza neighbourhood at around 21:00 local time. 

Three killed, six injured after armed attack in Paz de Ariporo

Two soldiers and one civilian were killed, and six others were injured during an armed attack in Paz de Ariporo, Casanare earlier today. The incident took place on the Hato Corozal - Paz de Aripo Highway at around 08:00 local time. According to reports, the attackers set up a trap with explosives as they called in the military towards a fake accident. No arrests have been reported. 

Two former FARC leaders killed, three others captured in Antioquia

The Colombian Army reported that two former FARC leaders were killed and three others were captured in Briceño and Yarumal, Antioquia yesterday afternoon. The incident was the result of a set of police raids in an operation against criminal gang activity. In addition to the captures, police seized pistols, rifles, cartridges, and explosives from the scene. 

Two police officers, four civilians injured in San Andrés shooting

Two police officers were killed and four other civilians were injured during a shooting in San Andrés yesterday morning. The double homicide took place in Nueva Guinea at around 01:45 local time. According to reports, a shooting ensued as police officers went to shut down a party. No arrests have been reported. 

National Army arrests 28 Gulf Clan members in security operations

National Army spokespeople announced the capture of 28 Gulf Clan members in La Guajira and Santander yesterday. The arrests came as part of a security operation against the criminal group that operates in Dibulla and Riohacha respectively. The operation resulted in the arrest of the leader of the Northern Commission of the Gulf Clan, known as 'Leonel'. 

Three killed, four arrested after shooting in Maicao

Three people were killed during a shooting in Maicao, La Guajira yesterday afternoon. The incident took place at the intersection of 24th Street and Carrera 5, in the Rojas Pinilla neighbourhood at around 16:00 local time. Police arrested four suspects at the scene. 

Three soldiers killed, several others injured after being ambushed in Turbo

Three National Army soldiers were killed and several others were injured following an armed attack by the Gulf Clan un Turbo, Antioquia yesterday evening. The attack took place in the Alto de Mulatos village at around 23:00 local time. According to reports, the soldiers were ambushed as their truck passed through the village, marking the first attack by the criminal group since the capture of its top leader 'Otoniel' on 23 October. Security forces said they expect further retaliatory action by the criminal group. 

Three people killed, one arrested following shooting incident in Cali

Three people were killed during a shooting in Cali, Valle de Cauca yesterday evening. The incident took place at the intersection of 84th St and Carrera 7 in the Alfonso López neighbourhood at around 20:00 local time. According to reports, three armed individuals riding in on motorcycles opened fire against a group of ten people, killing three of them. Police reportedly arrested one suspect later that night. 

Drug trafficker arrested during major operation

One of Colombia's most-wanted drug traffickers was arrested in a major operation on Saturday. Dario Antonio Usuga, also known as Otoniel, was detained during a joint operation carried out by the army, police and air force in Antioquia. "This is the biggest blow against drug trafficking in our country this century," said President Ivan Duque in a statement. "This blow is only comparable to the fall of Pablo Escobar in the 1990s." He will be extradited to the US, where he is accused of importing at least 73 metric tonnes of cocaine between 2003 and 2014.

At least 10 FARC dissidents killed, leader arrested after clashes with army in Cauca

Defense Minister Diego Molano reported that at least 10 FARC dissidents were killed during clashes with the National Army in Caucam yesterday. The clashes took place in the Cañón de Micay and lasted for several hours. The National Army deployed some 300 soldiers to the area. Minister Molano said that the security forces managed to capture the head of FARC E-37 known as 'Colacho'. 


Eleven soldiers injured following attack in Inírida

Eleven soldiers were injured during an attack in Inírida, Guainía yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in the El Coco community at around 15:00 local time. According to reports, the soldiers were travelling towards an indigenous community near El Coco when they were surprised by an explosive device planted on the way. An investigation is ongoing. 

Four people shot and killed in San Rafael

Four people were killed in a shooting in San Rafael, Antioquia yesterday evening. The incident took place at around 22:00 local time in a local park. According to witnesses, the victims were gathered at the park playing music when they were ambushed by several gunmen. Authorities say the Gulf Clan openly operates in the area and believe it was most likely committed on their behalf. The killing marks the second such incident in San Rafael in as many weeks. 

Two indigenous leaders killed in Cauca

Two indigenous leaders were killed in La Vega and Argelia, Cauca yesterday. The first victim was killed at the victim's home, where indigenous former-governor Luis Alfonzo Narváez Escobar was found with multiple gunshot wounds in El Guayabo, Santa Bárbara. The other incident occurred in El Sinaí, Argelia. The victim, Efrén España, founder of the Peasant Association of Algerian Workers (ASCAMTA) was found dead at the scene. No arrests have been reported. 

Five National Defense soldiers arrested over the killing of an indigenous leader

Five National Defense soldiers were arrested yesterday in Bogotá for the killing of an innocent person in 2019. The incident occurred during a military operation in Calima, Valle de Cauca. During the operation, the indigenous leader of the Kiwe Nasa people was killed without being involved in the conflict. A federal judge ordered their imprisonment based on the results of an investigation suggesting that the soldiers lied in their accounts of the operation. 

Two people killed, three others injured in Palmira nightclub shooting

Two people were killed and three others were injured during a nightclub shooting in Palmira, Valle de Cauca yesterday morning. The incident took place at a nightclub on Carrera 12 and 38th St, in the San Pedro neighbourhood at around 02:00 local time. No arrests have been reported. 

Community leader found dead in Cali following kidnapping

Authorities in Valle de Caucá announced the finding of a community leader's body buried in Cali yesterday. The discovery was made on Monday morning, in the Mojica neighbourhood. The victim, identified as Victor Orlando Mosquera, had been reported missing on 10 October. Police suspect he was kidnapped and murdered by FARC dissident groups operating in the area. No arrests have been made. 

More than 40 arrested, 250 weapons seized following security operation in Buenaventura

Authorities in Valle de Caucá reported that a security operation saw the arrest of more than 40 people in Buenaventura over the weekend. According to the statement, the detainees were all members or collaborators of a local criminal group known as 'La Local'. Police also seized more than 240 weapons from the criminals. 

Tame-Arauca highway shut down due to car bombs in the area

Authorities in Arauca reported that the Tame-Arauca highway has been blocked for the past three days in Arauquita. According to the statement, two car bombs were parked across the road in Las Cruces. The vehicles have not yet been removed due to a potential explosion. Authorities said national security forces were now on their way in order to attempt defusing the bombs if possible. The blockade was reportedly set up by FARC dissidents in the area. 

Two suspects killed during attempted robbery in Cali

Two suspects were killed during a robbery attempt in Cali, Valle de Caucá yesterday. The incident took place at the intersection of Calle 13 and Carrera 53, in the 1 de Mayo neighbourhood. According to reports, armed individuals who were robbing a shop were interrupted by a civilian who began shooting at them in defense of the employees, killing both suspects. Police are currently investigating the incident. 

Four killed, 24 injured following bus accident in Chaparral

At least four people were killed and 24 others were injured following a vehicular accident in Chaparral, Tolima yesterday afternoon. The incident took place near the Santa Bárbara village, in the Las Hermosas region at around 12:00 local time. According to reports, a bus that was carrying around 30 passengers went off the road and fell about 150 metres down a gorge. Some of the victims said the driver lost control due to the state of the roads in the area. 

Three police officers killed, three civilians injured after shootout on the Panamerican Highway

Two police officers were killed and three civilians were injured during a shootout in Santander de Quilichao, Cauca yesterday morning. The incident took place on the Panamerican Highway between Popayán and Santander de Quilichao, near Mandiva at around 08:00 local time. According to reports, the officers were called in reporting a stolen vehicle but were ambushed by around 20 people, ensuing a shootout. Three civilians were injured in the crossfire. No arrests have been reported. 

Blockade reported at Rumichaca International Bridge bordering Ecuador

Protesters in Colombia reportedly blocked the Rumichaca International Bridge located at the border with Ecuador. The demonstrators demand the Ecuadorian government open the bridge for trade purposes. Even though the border was opened on the Colombian side, the Ecuadorian side has not allowed passage. The protesters claim many local businesses have been affected as more than 400 trucks are denied entry daily. 

Protests, strikes and blockades reported in Cauca

A demonstration including blockades and a strike is scheduled to begin with an indefinite duration in the Cauca department. Cauca peasant leader, Nilson Liz Marín, announced the actions in response to what his group perceives as breached promises by the National Government. The blockades will reportedly be set up along various locations throughout the Pan-American highway. 

One killed, two injured following sicario attack in Ciénaga

One person was killed and two others were injured during a shooting in Ciénaga, Magdalena yesterday morning. The incident took place on Carrera 27 and 27th St in the Barrio Paraíso neighbourhood at around 10:30 local time. According to witnesses, a couple of sicarios riding in on motorcycles shot at the victim and injured another bystander. One of the shooters was injured as an employee fired back. Police said the victim was currently under house arrest for illegal possession of weapons. 

Border between Colombia and Venezuela reopens for trade

The Simon Bolívar International Bridge between Venezuela and Colombia, connecting the countries over the Táchira River, reopened today. Authorities said the reopening of the bridge was executed strictly for trade purposes and will not support the crossing of civilians "for any reason". The border had been shut since April 2020 in order to curb the spread of Covid-19. 

Two killed, another injured following shooting in Cali

Two people were killed and another was injured following a shooting in Cali, Valle de Cauca yesterday. The incident took place in the Terrón Colorado neighbourhood at around. According to Cali Police Operative Commander, Edgar Vega, the incident was the result of a territorial dispute between two criminal gangs operating in the area, namely Realengo and Villa del Mar. No arrests have been reported. 

Four indigenous people kidnapped and retrieved in Caloto

Four indigenous people were reportedly kidnapped and later rescued in Caloto, Cauca yesterday. The incident occurred in Resguardo de Toez when five armed individuals detained and kidnapped the victims, including the community leader. The local Indigenous Guard managed to retrieve the victims after looking into groups that are linked to drug trafficking and theft in the region. No arrests have been reported. 

One soldier killed, three others injured following armed attack in Tame

One soldier was killed and three others injured following an armed attack in Tame, Arauca on Saturday afternoon. The incident was reported in the Capanaparo sector at around 14:30 local time. According to authorities, the perpetrators remain unidentified. Army spokespeople said they believe the Domingo Laín Saenz substructure of the ELN and GAOR E10 front, who are notoriously active in the area, are responsible. 

Security operation detains 41 Gulf Clan members in Antioquia

Security forces in Antioquia reported the arrest of 41 members of the Gulf Clan in Medellín, Urrao, Amagá, and Ciudad Bolívar yesterday. According to Defense Minister Diego Molano, among the detainees was the leader of the 'Jairo de Jesús Durango Restrepo' substructure known as 'El Zurdo' and effectively dismantled two of the Clan's structures in the operation. 

One killed, one injured in Bogotá shooting

One person was killed and another was injured during a shooting in Bogotá yesterday evening. The incident took place at the intersection of Calle 20 and Carrera 16 in the Zona de Tolerancia de Santa Fe neighbourhood at around 19:30 local time. According to police, the incident was related to drug trafficking. No arrests have been reported. 

Security Observatory reports sixteen killed in Cali over the last three days

According to authorities in Valle de Cauca, 16 people have been killed in the last three days in Cali. The murders, ten of which happened on Sunday alone, were reportedly committed in the neighbourhoods of Las Acacias, Valle Grande, Asturias, Alcázares, Ciudad Córdoba, Los Naranjos, Potrero Grande, El Poblado, Tierra Blanca, and El Vergel. According to the Security Observatory of Cali, 79 homicides have been reported in September, and 938 in 2021.  

Colombian Armada kills one, captures three Gulf Clan members in Operation Senen

The Colombian Armada (AC) reportedly killed one and captured three members of the Gulf Clan from the Bahía Málaga Naval Base in Buenaventura, Valle de Cauca. The AC also seized a semi-submersible vessel from the scene. Minister of Defense Diego Molano said Operation Senen succeeded in capturing an important member of the Gulf Clan along with key infrastructure for drug trafficking. 

Five people killed, six others injured following FARC dissident attack in Tumaco

Five people were killed and six others were injured during an attack in Tumaco, Nariño yesterday morning. The incident took place in the municipality of Llorente during the morning hours. According to police, the attack was perpetrated by FARC dissidents belonging to the Urias Rendon column who “arrived at the establishment in a vehicle, firing several shots indiscriminately". According to Indepaz, there have been 73 attacks in the country so far this year. No arrests have been reported.

Transmetro temporarily suspends services due to blockades in Barranquilla and Soledad

Transmetro announced they would temporarily suspend services in Barranquilla and Soledad, in the Atlántico department due to blockades making roads impassable. The blockades were set up by bus drivers as they protest the lack of safety for drivers in the region. Blockades were reported being set up by drivers from the Sobusa, Transmecar, Lolaya, La Carolina, and Cochofal companies. 

Three soldiers killed, three injured and three missing following minefield explosions in Dagua

Three soldiers were killed, three others were injured and three others remain missing following a minefield explosion in Dagua, Valle de Cauca. According to authorities, the soldiers were conducting minefield training when they were surprised by real land mines. The minefield in Rio Blanco, Dagua was reportedly set up by a known FARC dissident leader who operates in the area. No arrests have been reported. 

One killed, another injured following targeted attack in Santa Marta

One person was killed and another was injured following a shooting in Santa Marta, Magdalena yesterday evening. The incident took place on 116th St and Carrera 10, in the La Paz sector at around 18:30 local time. According to witnesses, a couple of sicarios went into the victim's home and shot him dead in his backyard, the perpetrators also shot his son who was hospitalised shortly after. No arrests have been reported. 

Thirteen Gulf Clan members arrested following security raids in Antioquia

Authorities in Antioquia reported the arrest of 13 alleged members of the Gulf Clan yesterday following police raids in Medellín, Venecia, and El Retiro. Authorities reported the seizure of military-grade weapons, cartridges, drugs, and cash from the sites. The raids were joint operations between police and the military against the Jairo de Jesús Durango Restrepo wing of the Gulf Clan. Six of the detainees had arrests warrants for homicide and drug trafficking. 

Two indigenous leaders killed in San Pedro

Two people were shot and killed in San Pedro, Valle de Cauca on Saturday. According to reports, both victims were social leaders representing indigenous communities in the Collective Indigenous Guard and the Chidima Toló Reservation. Police say they have not identified the suspects but said that the FARC and ELN knowingly operate in the area and have been known to constantly clash with the indigenous communities for territorial control. 

Three killed, one injured in Pitalito shooting

Three people were killed and another was injured in a shooting in Pitalito, Huila yesterday evening. The incident took place outside the Nelson Carvajal school at around 20:30 local time. According to reports, two armed men on a motorcycle opened fire against the victims who were sitting outside the school inside their vehicle. The victims reportedly had criminal records for homicide, theft, drug trafficking, and illegal possession of firearms. Police believe the crime is linked to the victim's criminal activity. No arrests have been reported. 

Two FARC dissident leaders arrested in Huila

Two leaders of FARC dissident groups were reportedly captured in Huila yesterday. The arrests came from a police operation in Bajo San Isidro, in the Campoalegre municipality. According to reports, the detainees led the Alfonso Cano Front of the Segundo Marquetalia dissident group. Police seized military-grade weapons and ammunition from the criminals. 

Two police officers robbed and killed by FARC dissidents in San Vicente del Caguán

Two police officers were killed in a shooting in San Vicente del Caguán, Caqueta yesterday morning. The incident took place in the Los Colonos sector at around 11:00 local time. According to reports, the two officers were patrolling the area when armed individuals opened fire against them, killed them, and then stole their firearms and communication gear. Police believe one of the two substructures of FARC dissidents operating in the area is responsible. No arrests have been reported. 

Two killed, one injured after silo factory collapse in Barranquilla

Two people were killed and another was injured following the collapse of a silo factory in Barranquilla, Atlántico yesterday afternoon. The incident took place in the Riverport, in the Bendición de Dios sector at around 14:00 local time. A rescue operation is underway. 

One dead, 259 evacuated after hospital fire in Meta

One person died and 259 others were evacuated after a fire broke out in the Hospital Departamental de Villavicencio, Meta yesterday evening. The fire started at around 19:00 local time and was reportedly caused by an explosion in the ICU. Following the fire, patient care was closed and the local government declared a red alert in the department of Meta due to the increase in hospital bed occupation, reportedly now at around 50 percent. Additionally, the mayor imposed a curfew between 22:00 - 05:00 local time until at least 16 September in order to reduce risk in the city. 

Five killed, six wounded, one missing following clashes between Army and ELN in Araquita

Five soldiers were killed, six others were injured and one remains missing after an attack on a military patron in Araquita, Arauca on Saturday. According to authorities, the ELN used firearms and explosives against the 18th Brigade of the Army, which was conducting combat operations in the area. The operation aimed at subduing the ELN's narcotics and terrorist activities in the area. 

Seven Gulf Clan members killed, two captured in Ituango military operation

Authorities reported that a military operation in Ituango, Antioquia left seven Gulf Clan members dead and another two captured yesterday. The operation reportedly caused clashes in the village of El Socorro. Mayor Mauricio Mira said the army had "helped restore peace in the rural communities" after the operation as the area had been suffering from increased armed violence recently. 

One killed, two injured after explosive detonated in Cúcuta

One civilian was killed and two police personnel were injured after an explosive device detonated in Cúcuta, Norte de Santander yesterday. The explosion occurred on Demetrio Mendoza Ave near the El Escobal toll booth at the Venezuelan border. According to reports, several criminals rode in, threw the explosive, and left before it detonated. This marks the second such attack in a week's span and police believe the ELN is behind the attacks. 

Three police officers, 50 civilians injured in Bogota protests

Three police officers and more than 50 civilians were injured in protests in Bogotá yesterday evening. The clashes took place in the neighbourhoods of Bosa and Suba at the intersection of Ciudad de Cali Ave and Sube Ave. The clashes reportedly lasted until 02:00 local time today. One person was arrested for obstructing roads and a police motorcycle was set ablaze. Authorities expect more clashes to come in the upcoming days. 

Two killed after attempted robbery in Hobo

Two people were killed during an attempted robbery and assault in Hobo, Huila yesterday afternoon. The incident took place on the road between Hobo and Yaguará in the Campoalegre municipality at around 12:00 local time. The victims were identified as a local fisherman and a priest, the motive of the crime remains unknown. No arrests have been reported. 

One killed, one injured, one arrested in Medellín shooting

One person was shot dead, another was wounded and a suspect was arrested in Medellín, Antioquia yesterday evening. The incident took place on Carrera 76 and 46th St in San Antonio Prado at around 18:00 local time. According to witnesses, a drunk neighbour approached the victims wielding a weapon and shot at them indiscriminately. Police arrested the shooter at the scene. 

FARC dissidents burn two passenger buses in Florida

Authorities in Valle de Cauca reported that a FARC-dissident cell burned two passenger buses in Florida earlier today. The incident took place on Carrera 12A and 7th St at around 08:00 local time in La Cabaña. According to reports, two armed individuals approached the buses and made the occupants descend at gunpoint before proceeding to burn the vehicles. Police say the FARC dissident group responsible is known as 'Dagoberto Ramos'. No injuries or arrests have been reported. 

One person robbed and killed in Andes

One person was shot dead in Andes, Antioquia yesterday. The incident took place in the victim's residence in Santa Rita. According to reports, the victim, a coffee grower on his way to pay his employees, was ambushed, robbed, and then shot twice by unidentified assailants. According to the Andes police, the municipality has seen increased violence in recent months, this marking the 38th homicide this year. 

Six alleged Gulf Clan members, including its leader, arrested in Córdoba

Security authorities in Colombia reported the arrest of six alleged members of the Gulf Clan criminal organization, including their supposed leader, Jhon Alex aka Fabián. The suspects were arrested by the National Police (PN) in the Casablanca neighborhood in Quibdó yesterday evening. The PN said the arrests came following a year-long investigation into the group. The Gulf Clan is known for carrying out assassinations, extortion, and other violent crimes in the country. 

Two shot and killed by sicarios in Zona Bananera

Two people were shot dead in Zona Bananera, Magdalena yesterday evening. The incident took place on the Troncal de Oriente highway at the entrance of the San Pablo trail, Riofrío. According to reports, a couple that was selling fruits from their stand was ambushed by sicarios riding in on motorcycles. No arrests have been reported. 

More than 300 homes flooded due to heavy rains in Santo Tomás, Palmar de Varela and Polonuevo

Authorities reported that around 300 homes were flooded due to heavy rains in Santo Tomás, Palmar de Varela, and Polonuevo in the Atlántico department. Authorities expect the heavy rains to continue for several days and are likely to cause more flooding in the area. The Civil Defense (DF) said they will provide emergency aid to the areas affected by the floods. As the respective areas were promptly evacuated, no injuries or deaths have been reported. 

One suspect arrested for shooting a minor during a robbery in Bogotá

One person was arrested yesterday for shooting a minor during a robbery in Bogotá. The Bogotá Metropolitan Police announced the arrest which took place in the Bosa neighbourhood at around 20:00 local time and charged the suspect with shooting the minor on 19 August. The victim has reportedly been hospitalised since the attack with severe damage to his organs and spine. 

One killed, three injured in clashes between security forces and civilians in Las Conchas

One person was killed and at least three others were injured during violent clashes between security forces and civilian groups in Las Conchas, Antioquia yesterday. The civilian group reportedly opposes anti-illegal mining operations in the area and clashed with law enforcement personnel when they launched an operation in order to seize the machinery that had been set up in illegal mining areas. The civilian group, reportedly formed of about 300 people, faced the security forces with machete's and sticks and prompted a response from the Antidisturbance Mobile Squad (EMA) substituting the National Guard. 

Violent protests reported in Bogotá and Barranquilla

Multiple protests are reportedly taking place across Barranquilla and Bogotá today. Reports have emerged saying the protests quickly turned violent and affected traffic throughout both cities. The US Embassy issued an alert for "planned demonstrations across the capital that could potentially turn violent". The affected areas in Barranquilla are Carrera 44, 47th St, Universidad del Atlántico, Gobernación del Atlántico, and Paseo Bolívar. In Bogotá, reports emerged in Carrera 7, 35th St, 13th St, Carrera 32, Carrera 19, 24th st, Boyacá Ave, 71th St, Cali Ave, 45th St, and Suba Ave. 

One killed, two injured in Cali restaurant shooting

One person was killed and two others were injured during a shooting in Cali, Valle de Cauca. The incident took place at the Simón Parrilla restaurant located on Carrera 72 and 13th St. Witnesses said that a sicario went into the restaurant and opened fire on a specific table of four people. According to reports, this marks the 653rd homicide in Cali this year. No arrests have been reported. 

Local counselor of Zaragoza shot and killed in Bajo Cauca

A local counselor of the Zaragoza municipality was reportedly shot dead in Bajo Cauca, Antioquia yesterday evening. The incident took place at the victim's home in the Las Flores neighbourhood in Zaragoza. According to reports, counselor Mairon Chaverra Mosquera had recently completed his presidency in the council and was beginning to plan a campaign for local mayor. No arrests have been reported. 

Twelve miners dead following explosion at Carbonera mine in Tópaga

Yesterday, the National Mining Agency (ANM) reported that twelve people died following an explosion at a coal mine in Tópaga, Boyacá. The explosion was reportedly caused by a methane gas leak and carbon powder inside the Carbonera mine. According to the agency, 24 miners have died in the past two months due to accidents in the mines. 

Three shot and killed in Saravena amid criminal group conflict

Three people were shot and killed in Saravena, Arauca yesterday evening. Police discovered the victims this morning in the Bajo Pescado rural area, and deemed that the casualties were part of an ongoing conflict between the 'Tren de Aragua' criminal group and FARC dissidents known as the 'Décimo Frente'. According to police data, the conflict has left 16 people dead in the last two weeks. No arrests have been reported. 

Three killed, two wounded, one missing following shooting attack in Santander de Quilichao

Three people were killed, two others were wounded and one is missing following a shooting in Santander de Quilichao, Cauca yesterday morning. The shooting took place in El Águila at around 03:00 local time. According to reports, the attackers went into a house that was hosting a party and opened fire on the guests. Police believe the attackers were FARC dissidents known as the 'Dagoberto Ramos' armed group; the Ministry of Defense offered a bounty for their capture. 

One killed, 14 injured in clashes between security forces and FARC dissidents in Tumaco

One person was killed and 14 police officers were injured during a shooting in Tumaco, Nariño earlier today. The clash occurred when the Jungla Commando of the Anti-Narcotics Police was ambushed by a group of armed FARC dissidents in Brisas del Mataje. According to police, the dissidents were members of a group identified as 'Oliver Sinisterra' which is known to operate in the area. 

Three people killed in separate incidents in Antioquia

Three people were shot and killed in separate incidents yesterday in Antioquia. According to reports, the incidents took place in Puerta Valdivia, El Jardín, and Caucasia. According to Statista, around 2,000 people have been killed in Antioquia this year. 

Ombudsman issues violence alert in Valle de Cauca

The Defensoría del Pueblo (Ombudsman) issued an alert yesterday due to violence and criminal activity by FARC dissidents in Valle de Cauca. According to the Ombudsman's alert, the violence is predicted to take place in the municipalities of Buga, Palmira, and El Cerrito. The alert comes as ongoing violence in the area has displaced dozens of people recently. 

Evacuations ordered in Guayabetal due to landslides

Authorities in Cudinamarca reported that houses were being evacuated in Guayabetal due to landslides yesterday morning. The authorities ordered evacuations before saying that Via Llanos would remain closed due to cleaning tasks at KMs 25, 44, and 58. According to reports, landslides have left the municipality of Guayabetal unreachable and have caused 66 households with around 250 people to be evacuated due to the recent landslides caused by heavy rain in the area. 

Eight presumed criminals found dead in Vallenato

Authorities in Nariño reported finding eight bodies in a patch of rainforest in Vallenato yesterday morning. According to reports, the bodies reportedly carried military-grade equipment and belonged to two different armed groups who have been fighting in the area. Police believe the bodies were casualties of a recent clash between the Organizado Residual Oliver Sinisterra and Los Contadores. 

Three killed along Colombia-Venezuela border in territorial dispute

Authorities reported that three people were killed during clashes between FARC dissidents and the Tren de Aragua gang in the border areas of Arauca, Colombia and Apure, Venezuela over the weekend. The fighting, which took place on 13-14 August, is reportedly part of an ongoing territorial dispute between the groups. The casualties were reported in Tame, the Foro de los Libertadores, and the Paso de las Canoas.

Health Ministry issues dengue alert in Valle de Cauca amid recent spike

The Health Ministry of Valle de Cauca issued an alert regarding a high number of dengue cases in the region earlier today. According to the ministry's statement, there have been 5,206 cases and 15 deaths caused by dengue in the region this year, 68.9 percent of which were recorded exclusively in Cali. Valle de Cauca had been reportedly suffering from a dengue epidemic in 2019 and 2020, but cases had been lower this year until recently. Citizens have been advised to take the necessary precautions to avoid dengue infections. 

Teacher and union leader shot and killed in Fuente de Oro

One person was shot and killed yesterday in Fuente de Oro, Meta. The incident took place on 9th St at the entrance of El Progreso Primary School at around 08:30 local time when the victim was attacked by a group of sicarios. The victim, identified as London Bautista, was reportedly a teacher at the school and a union leader in the area. No arrests have been reported. 

One police officer killed, two others wounded

One police officer was killed and another was wounded during a shooting in Restrepo, Bogotá earlier today. The incident took place at the intersection between Calle 11 Sur and Caracas Ave at around 13:00 local time after policemen arrived answering a call about an unfolding robbery. According to police, as they attempted to detain the assailants, a shooting broke out and several robbers escaped, although officers managed to arrest one of them. 

Two tortured bodies found on the Cauca River bank

Authorities in Cali, Valle de Cauca reported finding two dead bodies on the banks of the Cauca River yesterday. The bodies were found early in the morning in the Los Álamos neighbourhood. According to police, the bodies showed signs of torture and strangulation, as seen in numerous cases of violent deaths in recent weeks. No arrests have been reported. 

Two killed, one injured in Medellín shooting

Two people were killed and another was injured following a shooting in Medellín, Antioquia yesterday morning. The shooting took place in a café located on the corner of Carrera 66 and Calle 48 in the Laureles-Estadio sector at around 00:00 local time. According to witnesses, an armed man walked into the café and started shooting at a couple's table, killing one of them. A bodyguard outside the café then reacted and killed the gunman. 

Town Hall in Cajibío set on fire by protesters

Secretary of State, Jhon Edison Chacón reported that protesters in Cajibío, Cauca reportedly set fire to the town hall yesterday evening. The incident took place at around 23:00 local time when protestors lit a couple of motorbikes on fire outside and the complex and proceeded to light up the building shortly after. The demonstrators were reportedly denouncing the death of Huber Samir Camayo Fajardo, a civilian who was wounded in clashes between civilians and police forces last Monday. No arrests have been reported. 

One person shot and killed upon prison release in Cali

One person was shot and killed in Cali, Valle de Cauca yesterday morning. The incident reportedly took place at the front gate of the Villahermosa prison at around 05:30 local time. According to reports, the victim had just been released from prison when he was ambushed by attackers, marking the second killing outside the prison's gates in a 72-hour span. 

Municipal representatives denounce death threats amid lost government funds

Earlier today, 80 municipal representatives denounced receiving death threats in Cali, Valle de Cauca. The formal complaint was made during a meeting with the Municipal Administration, in which 333 municipal representatives reportedly participated. The threats allegedly came as a result of recent reports accusing mayors of involvement in lost government funds. 

'Operation Orion' seizes record amounts of illegal drugs, arrests suspects

Earlier today, the government of Colombia announced that its security forces seized 116 tonnes of cocaine in a joint military operation with other American and European countries within the past month. 'Operation Orion' took place between 15 May and 30 June and involved air, land, and sea operations in the area. According to the statement, the authorities also seized 95 tonnes of marijuana, arrested 540 individuals, and destroyed 780 drug-producing laboratories. 

Curfews and dry law lifted in Santander

The governor of Santander, Mauricio Aguilar, announced the province would end the curfews and dry law in Floridablanca, Bucamaranga, and Girón yesterday morning. The curfews and dry law had been in place for the last 16 months. The municipalities announced afterwards that establishments will reopen at a 25 percent capacity. Mr Aguilar said the state will keep several capacity restrictions due to its ICU occupancy rates still being above 90 percent. 

Stay-at-home order imposed in Sucre for seven days

Authorities in Sucre, Colombia imposed a seven-day stay-at-home order for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated residents yesterday morning. As of 1 August, only residents with a vaccination card are to allowed to enter public spaces and businesses. All businesses must now require proof of vaccination from all customers. The use of face masks and social distancing are still required by law, including for vaccinated people. The measure comes as the area suffers a recent spike in Covid-19 cases carrying the 'Delta' variant. 

Flooding and landslides displace around 4,000

Flooding and landslides due to heavy rain in Antioquia have reportedly blocked several roads, left thousands without aid, and displaced around 4,000 people according to the UN. Ituango, Antioquia was reportedly hit the hardest, after paramilitary groups and cartels have become increasingly active in the region. The interior minister joined a military deployment to the area in order to increase security over the weekend. “We don’t see any judicial measures that will halt these mass displacements,” said Isabel Cristina Zuleta from watchdog Rios Vivos. “And each time these displacements are worse. In February 500 people were displaced, now it’s 4,000.”

Local mayor survives attack in Soacha

The Mayor of Soacha survived a gun attack on Friday. Juan Carlos Saldarriaga was on his way to a meeting when he came under fire. The mayor said his security team responded and prevented and injuries. One person was arrested while a second suspect fled the scene. 

Amnesty International denounces violence against protesters in Cali

Amnesty International denounced the violent acts being perpetrated against protesters in Cali, Valle de Cauca in a report published earlier today. The report analyzed several instances of excessive force, the Siloe Operation, the attack on the indigenous community in Minga, and the violence around the Valle University on 28 May. The report outlines the violent repression of protesters, paramilitarism, illegal detention, and torture that peaceful protesters in Cali had to endure since the beginning of the 'Paro Nacional' (National Strike) in April. 

Three killed after clashes with the ELN in Puerto Rondón

Three people were killed after an armed attack on the ELN in Puerto Rondón, Arauca yesterday evening. The attack was reportedly perpetrated by criminal groups at around 01:00 local time when they attacked an Ejéricto de Liberación Nacional (ELN) platoon on Main St. The army said the area is known to be of high risk due to the presence of at least three different terrorist groups and were conducting a routine patrol. No arrests have been reported. 

Six police officers injured, 13 arrested after clashes in Bogotá

Six police officers were injured and 13 people were arrested after clashes during a series of protests in Bogotá, Cudinamarca yesterday afternoon. The clashes came as a result of protests in several sectors of the city commemorating the three-month mark of the 'Paro Nacional' (National Strike). Violent clashes were reported in Usme and Portal de las Américas.

Judge orders the cancellation of in-person learning in Cali

The 15th Civil Court of the Orality Circuit of Cali ordered the city's Secretary of Education to suspend the return to in-person learning earlier today. The judge cited the high number of recent Covid-19 infections in Cali to justify the measure. The judge said the order has no expiration date and will be based on the evolution of Covid-19 infections in the area. 

Government reimposes Covid-19 travel restrictions

The government of Colombia has announced that it would reimpose the RT-PCR test and CoronApp registration as mandatory requirements for international travel in and out of Colombia earlier today. The Director of the Administrative Department of the Presidency of the Republic (DAPRE) Victor Muñoz, made the announcement citing the risks of the 'Delta' variant of Covid-19 and recently increasing hospital admissions. 

Three shot and killed in La Montañita

Authorities reported that three people, including a soldier, were killed in a shooting instigated by armed attackers in La Montañita, Caquetá on Saturday evening. The incident took place on a road headed from La Montañita towards the municipality of Milán. The attackers reportedly intercepted the vehicle in which the victims were travelling and shot them dead. No arrests have been reported. 

One killed, six injured in Tuluá shooting

One person was killed and six others were injured during a shooting in Tuluá, Valle de Cauca on Saturday afternoon. The incident took place on the only road connecting Tuluá with the San Rafael district. According to reports, the armed group known as Adán Izquierdo, which is highly active in the area, is believed to be behind the attack. The victims were appointed members of the Land Restitution delegation who had been deployed to the region, including a police officer. 

Riot in Santa Marta police station after 100 inmates escaped holding cells and attacked officers

Security authorities in Magdalena reported that at least 100 prisoners escaped their holding cells and took control of the Santa Marta police station on Saturday morning. According to reports, the prisoners overwhelmed the officers on duty, staged a protest against the inhumane conditions in the station's detention centre and established a stronghold on the roof. After the incident was controlled, authorities reported that around 65 inmates had escaped the building; all businesses immediately surrounding the area closed down to avoid ransacking and vandalism. Authorities are yet to release the number of injuries or casualties inside the prison but reported that security officers had been attacked with stones and several parts of the building were set on fire. Two officers were injured outside the prison.

Eleven injured after bus overturns near Santa Rosa de Osos

Eleven people were injured, including three critically,  after a bus overturned near Santa Rosa de Osos, Antioquia yesterday afternoon. The accident took place in the 65th KM on the highway between Medellín and Santa Rosa de Osos, in the San Juan sector at around 12:30 local time. According to reports, the bus, which belonged to COONORTE, overturned as the driver tried to steer away from another car on the highway, and rolled for about 45 metres down a hill, stopping just inches short of landing in the river. 

Juana Velasco Gallo Airport evacuates 500 people due to gas leak

Aviation authorities reported that 500 people were evacuated from the Juana Velasco Gallo airport terminal due to a broken gas pipe yesterday. The evacuation, taken as a preventive measure to ensure traveller safety, disrupted several flights and itineraries throughout the day. According to authorities, the gas leak was controlled after an hour and a half and travellers were advised to check their respective flight status for changes. 

Protests reported in Bogotá, Valle de Cauca, and Antioquia

Multiple demonstrations were reported in Bogotá, Valle de Cauca, and Antioquia earlier today. Police have reported protests in 5th St, 13th St and Carrera 100 in Cali; Oriental Ave and San Juan Ave in Antioquia; and Autopista Norte and 80B St in Bogotá. No violence or roadblocks have been reported. 

Four shot and killed at a bar in Yolombó

Antioquia's Chief of Police, Daniel Mazo, announced that four people were shot and killed in Yolombó, Antioquia yesterday. The incident took place inside a bar in La Cruz, where 10 armed men engaged in a heated discussion with other customers which escalated into an armed attack. Police believe the gunmen were members of the Clan del Golfo. The incident marks the 50th massacre in Antioquia this year. 

Bogotá moved from 'red' to 'orange' alert as ICU occupancy goes below 85 percent

The government of Colombia announced that it moved Bogotá from a Covid-19 'red' alert to an 'orange' alert yesterday. The move comes as ICU-bed occupancy dropped to 84 percent, meaning health workers are now authorized to execute surgeries and surgical treatments that are not Covid-19-related. According to the statement, the 'orange' alert will remain in place until ICU occupancy goes below 75 percent. 

Curfew and restrictions imposed in Valle de Cauca amid expected nationwide strike

Local authorities announced the imposition of an evening curfew in Valle de Cauca earlier today. The curfew will run from 19:00 - 05:00 local time, in which the sale of alcohol will be prohibited. According to the statement, the measure comes as part of efforts to prevent vandalism and violence during a nationwide strike expected to take place on 20 July. Cali and Buenaventura, two autonomous districts in Valle de Cauca, are exempt from the restrictions. 

Five Clan del Golfo cartel members killed, five others arrested in Pamplonita

Authorities reported that five Clan del Golfo cartel members were killed and five others were arrested during a clash with the Colombian Army in Cúcuta, Norte de Santander. The incident took place in the Vegas del Pamplonita neighbourhood. Amongst the fatal victims was 'El Diego', the presumed leader of the cell. Authorities said they seized eight assault rifles, a machine gun, two handguns, 24 thirty-round magazines, and three handgun magazines during the operation. 

Colombian National Army arrest Venezuelan for manufacturing and selling explosives in Cúcuta

The Colombian National Army announced that they arrested a Venezuelan national and charged him with criminal possession of explosives in Cúcuta, Norte de Santander yesterday. The arrest took place at the culprit's compound on Libertadores Ave, where police believe the detainee, known as 'Loco Loco' ran a massive operation manufacturing and selling explosives to criminal groups, which have been used against civilians and police. Police confiscated grenades, ammunition, and other explosives from the compound. 

Two killed, four injured after sicario attack in Cartago

Two people were killed and four others were injured after a shooting in Cartago, Valle de Cauca yesterday evening. The shooting took place in the Bellavista neighbourhood at around 19:00 local time when perpetrators riding motorcycles opened fire against a group of people in the street. According to the police, the attack was a revenge plot amongst criminal gangs. No suspects have been identified and no arrests have been made. 

National Army officer killed by ELN sniper in Saravena

Government authorities have reported that a soldier was killed by an ELN sniper in Saravena, Arauca yesterday. The incident took place as troops pertaining to the Eight Brigade of the National Army were attacked near the Puerto Nariño roadway as they conducted routine patrols. According to the army statement, the situation with criminal groups has become "worrisome" as they attack government infrastructure, officials, and civilians alike. 

Five FARC dissidents killed in San Vicente del Caguán bombing

A bombing operation carried out by authorities in San Vicente del Caguán, Caquetá left at least five FARC dissidents dead yesterday. The operation was executed near Guayabal Rd early in the morning. According to authorities, the victims belonged to the Nueva Marquetalia group led by Iván Márquez, a former second-in-command to the FARC, while troops seized "war material" and military-grade communication equipment. 

Ten police officers, five civilians injured during protests in Bogotá

Ten police force members and five civilians were injured yesterday during clashes between authorities and protesters in Bogotá. The clashes were reported near Fontanar del Río following an attack on the vehicle of the Minister of Transport, Ángela Orozco. Additionally, a group of protesters vandalized the Cundinamarca police station, where three motorcycles and two ambulances were set ablaze, in addition to the six transport buses that were set on fire in Bogotá.

Dozens injured in clashes between protesters and police, Bogotá

A dozen policemen and at least 13 civilians were injured during violent riots in Bogotá earlier today. Clashes between police and protesters were reported in Suba, Kennedy, Bosa, Rafael Uribe, Engativá, and the Sur highway. Additionally, five civilians were injured in Medellín clashes yesterday, and the House of Justice was targeted with firebombs. Incidents of vandalism were reported throughout, as scattered nationwide protests persist in the country. 

Several protests and blockades reported in Antioquia, Valle de Cauca and Atlántico

Several protests and blockades were reported throughout Antioquia, Valle de Cauca, and Atlántico earlier today. Demonstrators in Buenavista, Valle de Cauca occupied the municipal hall facility and demanded that the state pay attention to public health and safety in the locality. Additionally, multiple blockades were reported at the Autopista Norte, Carrera 31A and Oriental Ave in Medellín, 59th St in Barranquilla, Simón Bolivar highway, and Puerto Madera in Cali.  

Four police officers killed as part of 'Plan Pistola'

Four police officers and one civilian were killed in Cali, Valle de Cauca on Saturday. According to police reports, the incidents involved hitmen participating in 'Plan Pistola' (Gun Plan), a modality offered by organized crime which pays independent hitmen (sicarios) for the killing of uniformed officers. No arrests have been reported. 

Five people massacred by FARC dissidents in San Vicente del Caguán

Five people were reportedly massacred by FARC dissidents in San Vicente del Caguán, Caquetá on Saturday evening. Police investigated the aftermath of the incident and no dot currently know the motive of the shooting. The FARC dissidents left a note, not only claiming responsibility for the attack but offering a list of names who are 'on their list', with the victims' names scratched out. 

Government offers reward over attack on president's helicopter

The Colombian government has offered a three billion pesos ($796k) reward for information about an attack on President Ivan Duque's helicopter. The president was travelling near the Venezuelan border when his aircraft came under fire. No injuries were reported but the helicopter was damaged in the attack. "We are after those responsible. We will not give up until we capture them," national police chief General Jorge Vargas. Two rifles were found in the Cucuta neighbourhood that police claim were used in the attack.

Colombia records highest single-day spike in Covid-19 cases

Colombia's Health Ministry reported 32,997 new Covid-19 cases and 689 deaths yesterday. The former figure represents the highest single-day spike since the beginning of the pandemic. Colombia now tallies 4m cases and 102,636 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

A dozen civilians and five police officers injured during clashes in Bogotá

At least a dozen civilians and five police officers were injured during clashes between protesters and police in Bogotá yesterday. The disturbances produced vandalism and blockades throughout the city. Blockades were reported in Autopista Sur, Ave Ciudad de Cali, Calle 27 Sur, Rafael Uribe, Carrera 10 and Carrera 27 along with four TransMilenio stations namely Portal del Sur, Portal 80, Portal Suba and Portal Américas. Vandalism was reported in Calle 80, La Estancia, Suba Ave Cali, Pasto, and Portal 20 de Julio.

One killed, three injured in protests in Cali and Medellín

Clashes between police and protesters were reported yesterday in Medellín, Antioquia and Cali, Valle de Cauca. Authorities advised people to avoid the Botanical Garden section in Medellín due to road closures. Additionally, one person died and three minors were injured during clashes in Cali. The police are still asking citizens in scattered protests to stay peaceful. 

Twenty-four arrested as part of an international human trafficking organization

Colombia's National Police announced the arrest of 24 people who were part of a transnational human trafficking criminal organization yesterday. The operation was part of a joint operation with Spanish authorities. Four of the criminals were captured in Bogotá, another in Villavicencio, and 19 others in Spain. Police say the detainees include the leader of the organization known as 'Medina'. Additionally, 26 women were rescued in the operation.  

Blockade to be lifted by protesters in Tuta

Authorities reported that protesters who have been blocking the toll both in Tuta, Boyacá agreed to lift the blockade earlier today. The toll booth located on the highway connecting Tunja and Duitama in Boyacá is expected to be unblocked before midnight today. The lifting comes as protesters and authorities reached an undisclosed agreement. 

Colombia reports highest single-day Covid-19 deaths, Medellin suspends vaccinations

Colombia's Health Ministry reported 23,239 new Covid-19 cases and 648 deaths yesterday. The latter represents the highest daily figure in the country since the pandemic began, bringing the total above 100,000. Additionally, Mayor Daniel Quintero announced that the vaccination drive in Medellín, Antioquia was suspended due to a shortage of vaccines, marking the third suspension of its kind in the country. Colombia currently tallies 3.97m cases and 101,000 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Bogotá ICUs at 99 percent occupancy amid recent Covid-19 surge

Health authorities in Colombia have reported that Covid-19 patients are now occupying 99 percent of Bogotá's ICUs. The same reports claim that only around 30 ICU beds remain available. On Sunday Colombia reported 600 new Covid-19 related deaths and 27,818 new cases, 9,792 of which were reported in Bogotá alone. Colombia now tallies 3.95m cases and 99,938 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Medellín reports 97 percent ICU occupancy

Health authorities in Colombia reported an ICU bed occupancy rate of 97 percent in Medellín, Antioquia earlier today. The same report said that Medellín accounts for 52 percent of all Covid-19 cases in Antioquia. The mayor of Medellín, Daniel Quintero, said he expects a decrease in Covid-19 cases starting on 26 June. As of now, around two percent of Covid-19 cases are lethal.

Scores wounded in car bomb attack at Cucuta military base

At least 36 people have been wounded in a car bomb attack at a military base in Cucuta. Defense Minister Diego Molano described the blast as a “vile terrorist attack" that targeted Colombian soldiers during a visit to the base. He also accused the National Liberation Army (ELN) of carrying out the attack. A small group of US soldiers were at the base at the time of the blast, although none of them were injured.

Two dead, seven trapped after Santa Inés coal mine collapses

A coal mine explosion at the Santa Inés mine in Socha left two people dead, three injured and seven others trapped on Friday evening. The explosion reportedly took place at around 19:00 local time. Authorities believe the accumulation of methane and coal dust caused the collapse. A rescue team continues to work on rescuing the people who were trapped. 

Colombia reports new record-high number of Covid-19 daily deaths

Colombia's Health Ministry reported 28,519 new Covid-19 cases and 586 deaths yesterday. The figures represent the second day in a row where record-high numbers of daily deaths were reported in the country. Colombia now tallies 3.75m cases and 95,780 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Blockades persist in Cali, Valle de Cauca

Multiple blockades and protests persist in Cali, Valle de Cauca. The affected locations are 5th, 36th, and 70th Streets, Carrera 6, Carrera 7, Carrea 7C, Carrera 11B, Carrera 38, Carrera 38A, Carrea 39, Carrera 46, and Carrera 94; Puente de los Mil Días, and Simón Bolivar highway. According to reports, protests and blockades have reduced this week and no protesters occupy the blockades at the moment. 

Colombia records highest single-day Covid-19 deaths

Colombia's Health Ministry reported 573 deaths and 29,302 new Covid-19 cases yesterday. The figures represent the highest number of daily deaths recorded since the beginning of the pandemic. In response to the spike, regional authorities in Santander, Colombia announced that they would reimpose a night curfew. From 11 - 21 June the Santander health department will enforce a curfew between 22:00 and 05:00 local time. Colombia currently tallies 3.7m cases and 94,050 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Prosecutor shot dead near Venezuela border

A specialized prosecutor in the Tibu municipality has been shot dead by unknown gunmen. Esperanza Navas was targeted by assailants on a motorcycle at her home on Wednesday. She was declared dead before being transferred to a local hospital. The Espacio Violeta Feminist Collective said Navas is the 11th woman to have been killed in Norte de Santander so far this year.

Indigenous leader and husband killed in Corinto

A shooting in Corinto, Cauca left an indigenous leader and her husband dead earlier today. The shooting took place in the Media Naranja trail early in the morning. A threatening message was left at the crime scene describing the measure as retaliatory action from the ELN. No arrests have been reported. 

Clashes reported between rioters and police near University of Tolima

A group of protesters in Ibague, Tolima reportedly set fire to a bus and vandalised another three buses during clashes with police yesterday. The incident took place on Calle 42 and Carrera Cuarta Estadio near the University of Tolima. The hooded assailants allegedly seized the buses at gunpoint to set them up as a barricade before the Antidisturbance Mobile Squad (ESMAD) arrived to disperse them. All students living in the university's residencies had to evacuate the area. 

Blockades due to ongoing protests in Valle de Cauca

Blockades were reported due to ongoing protests in Valle de Cauca earlier today. Authorities reported blockades on 1st, 25th, 36th, 63rd, and 70th St; Carrera 1, Carrera 6, Carrera 7, Carrera 28E, Carrera 39, Carrera 46, Carrera 50 and Carrera 52, as well as Simón Bolivar highway and Puente de los Mil Días. 

Three dead, five injured after shooting in Santander de Quilichao

A shooting in Santander de Quilichao, Cauca left three people dead and another five wounded earlier today. The shooting took place in the Lourdes neighbourhood early in the morning. According to police reports, two of the victims were police officers who were ambushed indiscriminately by gunmen in a truck as they patrolled what has been labelled as 'FARC dissident territory'. No arrests have been reported.

Clashes reported after ongoing protests and blockades

As nationwide anti-government protests continue, clashes were reported in Suba, Bogota between security forces and protesters yesterday. Police reportedly used tear gas at protesters who were throwing projectiles at them. Additionally, protests and blockades persist in Valle de Cauca and Cundinamarca. The blockades were reported on 1st, 15th, 36th, 63rd, 70th, 78th, 82nd, and 83rd St; Carrera 1, 7C, 28d, 39, and 52 as well as Puente Mil Días, Sameco, Puerto Rellena, Simón Bolivar highway, and the Bogotá Villavicencia highway. 

Seven injured following clashes between police and protesters in Medellín

At least seven people were injured, including a police officer, following clashes between protesters and police in Medellín, Antioquia yesterday. Additionally, a metro station was vandalised during the clashes which were reported in the areas of the University of Antioquia, Parque de los Deseos, Botanical Gardens, and the Ruta N-Universidad de Metroplús station. 

Colombia partially reopens border with Venezuela

The government of Colombia announced that it partially reopened its border with Venezuela earlier today. The border was opened under the 'pico y cédula' programme that limits access based on the date and identity card digits. The newly opened access points are Paraguachón, La Guajira (08:00 - 16:00); Puerto Carreño and Inirida (06:00 - 17:00); José Antonio Páez International Bridge, Arauca (06:00 - 18:00); Puerto Santander (06:00 - 16:00); Simón Bolívar International Bridge (15:00 - 17:00); and Fransisco de Paula Santander Bridge (15:00 - 17:00).

Colombia records highest single-day Covid-19 spike

Colombia's Health Ministry reported 530 deaths and 25,970 new cases of Covid-19 yesterday. The figures represent the highest single-day spike in cases since the beginning of the pandemic. After weeks of nationwide protests in the streets contributing to the spread, Colombia now tallies 3.5m cases and 89,300 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Mayor Dau Chamat extends Covid-19 restrictions in Cartagena

Mayor William Dau Chamat announced the extension of a night curfew and other Covid-19 restrictions in Cartagena, Bolivar yesterday. The curfew runs from 22:00 through 05:00 and public events will remain prohibited until at least 16 June. 

Protests and blockades continue throughout Valle de Cauca

Protests and blockades continued today throughout Valle de Cauca. According to authorities, the affected locations are 1st St, 8rd St, 36th St, 15th St, Simon Bolívar highway, 78th St, 70th St, 61st St, 63rd St, Carrera 8, Carrera 1, Carrera 46, Carrera 28E, Carrera 39, Carrera 28D, Carrera 7C, Carrera 39, Carrera 7C, Puerto Rellena, and Calipso, Valle de Cauca. 

Two dead, two injured after shooting in Cali

A shooting in Cali, Cauca left two people dead and two others injured yesterday morning. The shooting took place in Puerto Resistencia (aka Puerto Rellena), at the intersection between Simon Bolivar and Carrera 46 at around 02:00 local time. According to witnesses, armed civilians started attacking a group of demonstrators who were blocking the street. Authorities have flagged Puerto Resistencia as a meeting point for social protests in Cali. No arrests have been reported. 

Ten security force personnel injured after protesters storm onto oil field in Villagarzon

Clashes between security forces and protesters at an oil field in Villagarzon, Putumayo, caused at least 10 injuries yesterday morning. The incident occurred as around 600 protesters, who were reportedly armed with sticks, machetes, and "other sharp objects", forced their way onto the Costayaco oil field, which is guarded by the Army, and began to attack the guards and company trucks. 

FANB and FARC dissidents agree to armistice in Apuré

According to the Fundaredes NGO, an armistice between the Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) and FARC dissidents was agreed to in La Victoria, Apuré yesterday. The truce comes after two months of armed clashes between the two sides, which have taken place in several areas around the Colombian-Venezuelan border, mainly in Apuré. The NGO also reported witnessing some military withdrawing from the area after plans of de-escalation were agreed.

More deaths reported during weekend protests

As nationwide protests and riots continue, the Colombian government announced it would deploy its military where necessary, beginning with Valle de Cauca, after four people died during protests on Friday. In Santa Helena, Ibagué three people were arrested after allegedly forcing a driver to give them his truck after he got stuck in blockades. On Saturday, a clash was reported between protesters and police in Villa Rica, Cauca, where a tollbooth was destroyed. On Sunday, at least 13 people were killed and five others were arrested during protests in Cali, Valle de Cauca; at least eight of the victims were killed by firearms. In a month of protests in Cali, the mayor's office reported at least 550 people wounded. 

Military deployed to Cali

President Ivan Duque has ordered the deployment of 7,000 military personnel to the province of Valle del Cauca and its capital, Cali, after four people died in protests that marked one month of anti-government demonstrations. President Duque announced the deployment as a necessary measure to stop "vandalism, unrest" and protect "strategic assets." Clara Luz Roldan, governor of Valle del Cauca, earlier declared a curfew would start in the province from 19:00 local time.

Three dead after Cali protests turned violent

During ongoing nationwide protests, three people died yesterday in Cali, Valle de Cauca after a rally turned violent. Police reported vandalism and looting as well as Molotov cocktails being hurled at around 10:30 local time before they shot tear gas and began making arrests. The nationwide protests have been ongoing for several weeks and have claimed hundreds of Colombian lives.

Former FARC combatant murdered in Chocó

Authorities in Colombia reported that former FARC combatant, Luis Eduardo Hinestroza Albornoz, was assassinated in Chocó yesterday. The victim, who was part of the "reincorporation" process between the state and the Revolutionary Armed Forces, was found near the Atrato River sometime in the afternoon. A small protest in response to the killing showed signs reading "Duque: we didn't sign to get killed". 

Police report rioting at Bucamaranga protests

Protests in Bucamaranga, Santander reportedly escalated into riots when police reported gunshots being fired, attempted arson at a metro station, and Molotov cocktails being thrown at two banks yesterday. The incidents of alleged gunshots and attacks on the banks were reported on Carretera 27 and Calle 14, whilst arson was attempted at a UIS Metro Line station. No casualties were reported. 

Colombia reports highest single-day spike of Covid-19

Colombia's Health Ministry reported 514 deaths and 23,487 new cases of Covid-19 yesterday. After several weeks of ongoing protests in the streets of Colombia, the spike represents the highest single-day tally since the pandemic began. The country now counts 3.3m cases and 86,180 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Protests in Valle de Cauca leave 37 people injured

At least 37 people were injured yesterday in separate incidents in Valle de Cauca. Twenty-six were injured following clashes between police and protesters in Jamundi; the clashes erupted after police attempted to remove some of the blockades set up along the Pan-American highway. Another nine people were injured after unidentified assailants threw firebombs at a bus in Florida. The attack on the bus took place on Carrera 17 and Calle 13 early in the morning. 

Four students massacred in Tulúa

Four students were killed in a shooting in Tulúa, Valle de Cauca on Monday. The victims, two of whom had been reported missing, were found by police in the Los Caimos section and Portales del Rio neighborhood. Police are currently investigating the incident and no arrests have been made. According to a report, this marks the 39th massacre for the year in Colombia. 

Protests persist throughout Colombia, Court Building in Tulua vandalised

Protesters marched in the provincial capitals around Colombia on Wednesday in order to call on the government to provide economic support for the poor amongst other issues in addition to the ongoing anti-government protests. "Protests affect us, but it's preferable to go on strike for one, two, three months than to spend one's whole life with so much corruption, without help from the state," one of the protesters said. The protesters also demanded better women's rights, mortgage moratoriums, and utility payments for four months. Anti-government protests also persisted in Cali, Bogotá, Barranquilla, Bolivar, Santander, and Tulua. In the latter city, the court building (Palacio de Justicia) was set on fire amid clashes between police and protesters yesterday. In Barranquilla, a police post a mayor's office, and a public transport bus were targeted during incidents of vandalism and looting. 

Protest disrupts traffic in Cucuta

Ongoing protests throughout Cucuta, Norte de Santander disrupted traffic yesterday. The protest in Cucuta has been led by taxi drivers who presented a list of demands to the local government authorities. The drivers, who were reportedly apologizing to the blocked commuters, said they would continue protesting until their demands have been met. No violence has been reported during the protests. 

Antioquia reduces Covid-19 curfew until 31 May

The regional government in Antioquia, Colombia announced the reduction of its Covid-19 curfew from 25 - 31 May. The Antioquia local government then plans to revise and reassess the curfew depending on its results. The new curfew will run from 00:00 through 05:00 local time. Colombia currently tallies 3.25m cases and 85,210 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Government and NSC reach 'pre-agreements', Bogotá to reopen 8 June

Colombia's government and National Strike Committee reached "pre-agreements" which the government said it hopes will end almost a month of widespread protests on Monday. The result comes after a week of talks between both parties. "The session of conversations between the national government delegation and the national strike committee has today permitted the completion of a document of pre-agreements," a government spokesperson said. The agreement was followed by an announcement made by Claudia López, mayor of Bogotá, planning to reopen all economic sectors by 8 June. 

Anti-government protests continue, form blockades

Anti-government protests throughout Colombia have continued today, mainly in Cali, Bogotá, and La Guajira. Blockades have been formed in San Mateo Station, Bogotá; Transmileno Portal Sur, Bogotá; 63rd and 59th Streets, Bogotá; 5th Street, Carrera 85 63rd Street, 36th Street, Simón Bolivar Highway, 70th Street, 73rd Street, 1st Street, and Cali-Palmira highway, Valle de Cauca as well as the Maicao-Rioacha Highway in Palo Alto, La Guajira. Protests and blockades have complicated logistics in the country, causing a shortage of supplies in several large cities.

Clashes between police and protesters in Cali leave one dead, 19 injured

An armed clash between police and protesters in Cali, Valle de Cauca left one person dead and 19 others injured yesterday. The clashes occurred in the Calipso sector and reportedly erupted after police tried to confront a group of protesters over vandalism and looting. The victim was reportedly hit by a stray bullet as she passed through the area.

Thirty-five injured after protesters clash with police in Medellín

At least 35 people were injured after incidents of vandalism resulted in clashes with police in Medellín, Antioquia yesterday. The clashes reportedly occurred in the University of Antioquia area. As nationwide protests enter their fourth straight week, Colombia's National Strike Committee comprising unions, students and other civil society groups will meet with the Colombian government representatives today. 

Colombia reopens borders to Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Panama

Colombia reopened its borders with Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama after having closed them on 17 March. The announcement was made by Colombia's Foreign Ministry yesterday, which also mentioned the possibility of reopening its border to Venezuela on 1 June. Colombia currently tallies 3.16m cases and 82,750 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Shooting in Tumaco leaves three people dead

A shooting in Tumaco, Nariño left two soldiers and one criminal dead yesterday. The shooting took place in San Juan, where the Colombian Army was conducting an investigation. According to reports, the criminal cell known as Oliver Sinisterra attacked the patrolling officers as they approached the complex, from which authorities confiscated two semi-automatic weapons, grenades, ammunition, and exclusive military apparel. 

Clash between police and protesters in Caldas leaves eight injured

A clash between police and protesters in Caldas, Antioquia left eight people injured including three officers yesterday. The clash escalated when police attempted to clear out a blockade on Caldas held by at least 110 people, which had disrupted traffic for more than 1,000 vehicles. Mayor Cayo Cardona said energy services were also disrupted due to damage. 

Covid-19 restrictions extended in Bucaramanga and Santander

Health authorities announced the extension of Covid-19 restrictions in Bucamaranga and Santander yesterday, until at least 1 June. The decision comes after ICU occupancy rates in Bucamaranga went up to 97.76 percent and 96.21 percent in Santander. Authorities also said that the measure will apply to any municipality reporting over 80 percent occupancy. Colombia currently tallies 3.15m cases and 82,300 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

FARC dissident leader killed in Apure

Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano Aponte announced that FARC dissident leader Jesús Santrich was killed during one of the clashes between FANB forces and guerrillas in Apure. Santrich was a former representative of FARC in the Colombian Congress. "Intelligence information indicates that in alleged clashes that occurred yesterday in Venezuela, alias "Santrich" and other criminals were killed. If this fact is confirmed, it is verified that drug criminals take refuge in Venezuela," said Molano Aponte. According to recent reports, Santrich had threatened to kill Colombian President Iván Duque. 

Mayor Claudia Lopez issues warning as Colombia passes 80,000 Covid-19 deaths

Amid ongoing protests and ICUs close to capacity in its biggest cities, Colombia passed 80,00 deaths due to the coronavirus on Friday, now tallying 3.12m infections and 81,300 deaths. Bogota's mayor Claudia Lopez issued a warning after the country posted its second-highest number of Covid-19 infections and highest number of deaths since the pandemic began on Thursday. After announcing she was infected and would self-isolate, Ms. Lopez tweeted "I don't know what more to say, to warn, to beg, to plead," urging people to respect social distancing rules.

Protesters torch police station in Popayán

Protesters have torched a police station in Popayán during unrest sparked by the suicide of a 17-year-old girl after she alleged that she was abused by officers. Officers fired tear gas to disperse the crowd that had gathered outside the station. At least one person was killed and 35 wounded in the unrest. President Iván Duque said he would send the interior and defence ministers to the city, while Prosecutor General Francisco Barbosa announced a criminal investigation into the sexual abuse claims of the student.

Dozens injured after police clash with protesters in Buga

At least 48 people were injured after protesters clashed with police yesterday in Buga, Valle de Cauca. Police reportedly tried to remove the roadblocks on the highway when the incident escalated. "We've had disturbances for 15 days, people have sacked trucks and vandalized buses transporting medical supplies, affecting the country's health. The dialogue helped no one, we were forced to act" said an official. 

Protests and blockades continue amid rising ICU occupancy

Protests and blockades persist in Valle de Cauca in Antioquia, which has resulted in a supply shortage in both states. Yesterday evening, a group of protesters reportedly attacked the Mayor's office and a bank in Poyapán, Cauca to which police responded by firing tear gas. Additionally, the Bogota Medical College and the Colombian Association of Emergency reportedly asked the Ministry of Health to declare a national hospital emergency as ICU occupancy reached almost 100 percent.

Foreign Minister Claudia Blum resigns

Colombia's Foreign Minister, Claudia Blum, submitted her resignation earlier today. The former minister resigned amid socio-economic troubles in the country and ongoing civil unrest. Blum is now the second of President Ivan Duque's cabinet members to resign in recent months.

Protest blockades create oxygen shortage for hospitals

Health authorities in Colombia have issued warnings amid reports of oxygen shortages in hospitals due to the protest blockades. The recent shortages have been reported in Cundinamarca, Tolima, Boyacá, Huila, Putumayo, Cauca, Valle de Cauca, Nariño, Chocó, and Antioquia. The protests had previously affected hospitals in Cali and are now having more widespread implications for hospitals nationwide. 

Colombia expels Cuban ambassador

The Colombian government expelled a Cuban diplomat for "developing activities incompatible with diplomatic work" earlier today. The Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a dialogue with the Colombian ambassador in Havana to protest Bogota's decision. Colombia has recently claimed that foreign adversaries have been promoting chaos and vandalism in the country.

Over 60 gas stations looted and vandalised due to petrol shortages

Authorities in Cali reported that more than 60 gas stations have been looted and vandalised so far due to a shortage of petrol in Valle de Cauca. The shortage has been caused by roadblocks formed by the ongoing nationwide protests. Grocery stores and hospitals have also reported shortages due to the roadblocks. 

Protests set to continue for ninth consecutive day

Anti-government protests are set to continue for a ninth consecutive day in Colombia. Demonstrators are set to gather at Centro Mayor and march towards the Parque Nacional in Bogota on Thursday, while another group will meet at the Monumento a los Heroes. There are multiple roadblocks in place and troops have been deployed across the city.

Anti-government protesters target Capitol, Bogota

Anti-government protesters attacked the Capitol while Congress was in session on Wednesday evening. Police fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds, while demonstrators also attacked several police stations in the capital. The protests were sparked by the government's controversial tax reforms, which President Ivan Duque has since withdrawn, but have since broadened to wider anger at poverty and alleged police violence. There have been at least 24 deaths during the protests, while hundreds more have been wounded.

Thirty inmates escape La Sultana

Around 30 inmates escaped yesterday from a police station that was set on fire amid clashes between police and protesters in Cali, Valle de Cauca. The inmates escaped from La Sultana Police Station, where all officers managed to escape prior to the fire, taking all guns and ammunition with them. No casualties have been reported. 

Covid-19 curfew extended in Cali

The Mayor of Cali announced an extension to its Covid-19 curfew until at least 14 May yesterday. The curfew will run from 20:00 through 05:00 local time. Circulation will be limited on an identity number basis. 

Six dead after shooting in Valle de Cauca

Six people were killed in a shooting in Rio Grande, Valle de Cauca yesterday morning. The shooting took place at La Vallenata tavern, where the six victims were surprised by unidentified assailants who walked in and opened fire inside. No arrests have been made. 

CGT plans to continue nationwide protests

The General Confederation of Workers (CGT) union announced that it has organized further nationwide demonstrations. "There are several unresolved issues with the government" said the CGT's president. The demonstrations have been ongoing since 28 April and continued despite President Ivan Duque withdrawing a controversial tax reform proposal. 

Flights suspended at Alfonso Bonilla Aragon International Airport (CLO) due to blockades

The Civil Aviation authority in Colombia announced that flight operations at the Alfonso Bonilla Aragon International Airport (CLO) were temporarily suspended at 17:00 local time due to various blockades on main roads preventing access to airport terminals. The blockades were formed as part of the nationwide protests against the government's tax reform proposal. Travellers have been advised to monitor their flight status. 

Colombia reports new single-day high for Covid-19 deaths

Colombia reported 19,745 new infections on 28 April along with 490 deaths, the highest single daily toll since the beginning of the pandemic. The current spike comes amid nationwide protests which have been ongoing since 28 April over government tax reforms, which have since been withdrawn. Colombia currently tallies 2.9m cases and 74,477 deaths due to the coronavirus.

Seventeen killed after five-day nationwide protests

Colombian authorities reported 17 deaths, 846 injuries and 431 arrests as a result of the five-day protests over President Ivan Duque's tax reform plan. The protests also destroyed 69 transportation stations, 36 ATMs, 94 banks, 14 transit checkpoints and 313 commercial stores. Authorities considered Cali, Bogotá, Medellín and Santander as the worst affected cities. The Ministry of Defense also claimed that the protester violence was organized and financed by FARC and ELN dissident guerrillas. President Duque has since withdrawn the reforms.

President Duque withdraws tax reforms after mass protests

President Ivan Duque's has bowed to public pressure and withdrawn the government's controversial tax reforms. Thousands of people have taken to the streets over recent days to condemn the proposals, which included new or expanded taxes on citizens and business owners. Six deaths were reported during the unrest, while dozens more were wounded. Duque said he would ask Congress “to withdraw the law proposed by the finance ministry and urgently process a new law that is the fruit of consensus, in order to avoid financial uncertainty”.

Police kill 'at least eight' in Cali

Cali human rights organizations said that they have been able to confirm the assassination of eight people and are in the process of verifying a further six police killings. The people were allegedly killed in the neighbourhoods of El Calipso and El Diamante. Locals additionally uploaded evidence that police was indiscriminately opening fire on civilians in three other neighbourhoods in the south-eastern area of the city. The alleged police killings took place after Defense Minister Molano announced an additional 2,300 policemen and soldiers to provide security in the city. Since Wednesday, 28 people have been injured, “many of them seriously and with gunshot wounds.”

Additional security forces sent to quell Cali violence

Defense Minister Molano has announced the deployment of an additional 2,500 members of the security forces to Cali amid tax reform protests. Labour unions called strikes on Wednesday in Colombia’s major cities to demand the government of President Duque withdraw the reform, which it presented to congress earlier this month and would increase the government's tax income. The most serious rioting took place on Wednesday and Thursday in Cali. One man died on Wednesday following confrontations, while 55 civilians and more than 40 police officers were injured in the last two days. 

Protesters block highways in Guamal and Cajamarca

Demonstrators blocked a highway in Guamal and Cajamarca. Dozens protested against failing electricity supplies and the recent tax reforms approved by the government. Both the Cajamarca and Guamal highways were blocked early in the morning. No violence has been reported. 

Targeted attack injured three security officers in Sardinita

A targeted attack in Sardinita, Norte de Santander left three security personnel injured yesterday morning. Later a police station was targeted in a sniper attack in Convención. Police say both attacks were carried out by suspected ELN members. No arrests have been made. 

Colombia to deploy police and army to protests in Cali

The Colombian government announced that it would deploy more police and army units to Cali, in an effort to end violent protests against a controversial tax reform. The most violent scenes took place on Wednesday and Thursday in Cali, with banks and government offices vandalized and around 95 people injured, including 40 police officers. "We have discovered that the violent events in Cali were premeditated, planned and sponsored by criminal organizations. We are taking more men and women from the police and the army to guarantee the defense and security of citizens," Defense Minister Diego Molano said.

Strict lockdown imposed in Meta and Boyaca amid Covid-19 surge

The Colombian government has announced that it imposed a department-wide strict lockdown in Meta and Boyaca amid a surge in Covid-19 cases and ICU occupancy rates. In Meta, the lockdown will run from 20:00 to 05:00 from 29 April through to 3 May; and 20:00 to 05:00 in Boyaca. Colombia currently tallies 2.9m cases and 73,230 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Dozens of police officers injured in nationwide union strike

A nationwide strike in Colombia resulted in massive demonstrations in which 42 police personnel were injured and around 40 people were arrested; the demonstrations are set to continue through today. "We are asking President Duque to withdraw the tax reform," Francisco Maltes, president of the Central Union of Workers (CUT) said during a press conference. The Cali police set a 13:00 curfew after several buses were set on fire and police met protesters with tear gas in Bogotá. President Duque said on his daily television programme that he understood peaceful protests but said "criminal vandalism" had occurred.

Trade unions to hold protest today over tax reform proposal

Reports have emerged about trade unions holding a nationwide strike today. The National Unitary Command, which includes the Central Unitary of Workers, the General Confederation of Labour, the Confederation of Colombian Workers, the Federation of Education Workers and the Confederation of Pensioners, called for a strike against a draft tax reform proposed by the Colombian government. 

Early morning shooting leaves one dead, one injured in Bogotá

A shooting in Bogotá left one person dead and another injured yesterday. The shooting took place in the Luis Carlos Galán neighbourhood at around 07:00 local time. According to local residents, a group of inebriated gunmen pulled up to the neighbourhood playing loud music, for which they were fined by police. The group later returned and opened fire at the same spot. One of the gunmen was arrested at the scene. 

Weekend lockdown and curfew to be imposed in Santander

Local authorities announced that they will impose a weekend lockdown in the Bucaramanga metropolitan area, along with the rest of Santander, from 30 April through 3 May. The mayor of Santander said a strict curfew from 20:00 to 05:00 will be enforced. The measure is a part of efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 which has recently surged in the area. Colombia currently tallies 2.8m infections and 72,000 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Authorities issue warning over fraudulent Covid-19 vaccine sales

The Colombian authorities issued an alert over fraudulent sales of Covid-19 vaccines over the weekend. The National Police reported more than 40 fake websites claiming to distribute jabs. The alert comes after the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued warnings over illegal vaccine markets in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil; it has now added Colombia to the list.

One dead, 21 injured during protest over killing of indigenous leader

One person died, 21 people were injured and another five were arrested during a protest which was sparked by the death of local leader, Sandra Lilian Peña, in Caldono, Cauca. The protest took place in the afternoon in the La Laguna area, where the victim was killed. A group of armed civilians reportedly opened fire at the crowd and fled the scene, impeding the funeral ceremonies.

Multiple injuries in criminal group attack, Caldono

At least 31 indigenous people were injured after a criminal group opened fire on them while destroying their crops in Caldono, Cauca yesterday. Police say the area is disputed by dissident FARC guerrillas, the National Liberation Army (ELN), indigenous communities and other criminal far-right paramilitary groups due to its strategic importance for logistics and the coca crops produced in the area. "So far 31 indigenous people have been reported injured and five attackers have been detained by the Indigenous Guard," the Regional Council of Indigenous in Cauca (CRIC) said in a statement. On Tuesday, indigenous governor Sandra Liliana Peña Chocue - who opposed coca crops in indigenous lands - was assassinated in the same region.

Colombia records new daily death toll high

Health authorities in Colombia reported 19,306 new Covid-19 infections and 430 deaths yesterday, the highest number of daily deaths recorded since the beginning of the pandemic. Colombia now tallies 2.8m cases and 70,030 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Two police officers killed in Puerto Rico ambush

Two police personnel were shot and killed yesterday by unidentified gunmen in Puerto Rico, Caquetá. The police officers were reportedly ambushed by gunmen riding a motorcycle in La Galería. No arrests have been made so far. 

Colombia to allow private companies to purchase Covid-19 vaccines

The Colombian government announced that it would now allow private companies to purchase Covid-19 vaccines in a statement yesterday. The decision comes as Colombia tries to reach its objective of vaccinating 70 percent of the population (35m people) by the end of the end. Colombia currently tallies 2.7m infections and 70,000 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

One dead after warehouse explosion in Bogotá

An explosion and fire at a woodworking warehouse in Bogotá, left one person dead and another injured after the facility was evacuated at around 09:30 local time. At least 10 residential properties were damaged as a result of the fire in the Villas del Dorado neighbourhood. The cause of the explosion remains under investigation. 

Curfew imposed in Puerto Asís amid a surge in Covid-19 cases

Municipal authorities announced the imposition of a curfew in Puerto Asís, Putumayo yesterday. The curfew comes as ICU occupancy rates remain at 100 percent for the sixth consecutive day amid a surge in Covid-19 infections. The curfew will be imposed for at least eight days. Colombia currently tallies 2.68m infections and 69,180 deaths due to the coronavirus. 

Government extends night-time curfew until 3 May

The Colombian government announced an extension to its night-time curfew until at least 3 May earlier today. The curfew runs from 20:00 through 05:00 as ICU occupancy in Bogotá increases. The Ministry of Health also announced that a strict lockdown will be enforced from 00:00 on 23 April through 04:00 26 April as its "4/3 scheme" requires. 

FARC dissidents killed in clashes with troops, Cauca

At least 14 suspected FARC dissidents were killed during clashes with Colombian troops in Cauca on Saturday. Defense Minister Diego Molano said one soldier - Corporal Diego Ricardo Gomez Chavez - also died during the exchange in the town of Argelia. The troops were conducting operations to track down guerrillas responsible for the car bomb attack in Corinto last month that left 43 injured.

Atlántico extends curfew until 29 April

The Colombian government announced the extension of a curfew in the Atlántico department yesterday. The curfew runs from 18:00 through 05:00 including the entire weekend until 26 April. The curfew was introduced as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19. 

Around 3,360 displaced due to violence in Narino

Recent violence in El Charco, Narino has left around 3,360 displaced people according to the local authorities. The conflict between the Franco Benavides front and the Alfonso Cano de la Segunda Marquetalia front has been the cause of much of the instability in the region. There has also been a sharp rise in Covid-19 infections in the affected area.

Criminal group ambush in Cauca leaves four dead

An ambush in Santander de Quilichao, Cauca left four people dead on Wednesday evening. According to the authorities, the ambush was carried out by a criminal organisation on a rival group as part of a territorial dispute.

Medellín-Bogotá Highway closed for repairs

KM 52 on the Medellín-Bogotá Highway was closed for repairs in El Santuario, Antioquia today. Authorities suggested commuters take the Meddelín-Cisneros and Puerto Berrío-Caño Alegre highways instead. No timetable for reopening has been announced. 

Armed attack in Mondomo leaves four dead, one injured

An armed attack in Mondomo, Cauca left four people dead and another injured on Wednesday night. The incident took place in a rural part of the district. The victims have not been identified and no arrests have been made. Police said that they hope the victim who was hospitalized can provide them with information once he is stable. 


FANB threatens to take war to Colombia if attacked by US

Chavista leader Diosdado Cabello said on TV that President Duque's government is actively assisting the US with its attacks against Venezuela and threatened to invade Colombia if they were attacked by the US. Cabello said "if war actions are coming, we will bring the war to Colombia". FANB forces have been engaged in active combat with FARC dissident groups in Venezuelan territory during recent weeks. The governments of both countries have sent hundreds of troops to the bordering area, specifically Arauca-Apure. 

Antioquia imposes strict curfew

Regional authorities in Antioquia have imposed a strict curfew in 26 municipalities including Medellín in order to control a spike in Covid-19 infections. Additionally, a night-time curfew will run from 20:00 through 05:00 in the remaining 99 municipalities. 

Taxi drivers stage protest in Cali

Taxi drivers staged multiple protests in Cali today. The protesters demanded the suspension of reforms to public transportation law which would allow more competitors to get into the market. Reports expect blockades in several parts of the city, including Alfonso López Bridge, Paso del Comercio, Portada al Mar, Puerto Rellena and Transportation Terminal; some of the protests began at 05:00 local time. 

Atlántico extends restrictions until 19 April

The Governor of Atlántico announced the extension of Covid-19 restrictions in the state yesterday. The decision comes after a consultation with all 22 municipal mayors, who agreed that the recent surge in coronavirus cases "requires further action". The extension applies until at least 19 April. 

Coronavirus restrictions extended as cases rise

Colombia has extended the coronavirus-related curfews in cities across the country in response to rising cases. President Ivan Duque said the measures will be based on intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy rates. “It’s clear that … some municipalities have shown increases in recent weeks and there also exists the risk of a new national increase in the coming weeks,” Duque said. “We must act, prevent and take appropriate decisions.” The new measures will be enforced from Monday and will remain in place until 19 April.

Czech Republic bans travel to and from Colombia

The Czech Republic announced a travel ban to and from Colombia (and Peru) from 12 April through 31 May. The Czech government said the measure aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. 

Thousands of Venezuelans flee due to territorial dispute

A territorial dispute between the Venezuelan military and illegal armed groups, allegedly a FARC dissident group known as the 10th Front, has caused thousands of people to flee to bordering Colombia. It was reported on 25 March that more than 3,900 Venezuelans fled due to the dispute. Colombia announced it had deployed troops to the border in order to guarantee the safety of those seeking refuge. Venezuela condemns the presence of FARC dissident groups in their territory, though Colombia has accused President Nicolás Maduro of harbouring them.

Government accuses FARC dissidents over car bomb attack

The Colombian government has accused FARC dissidents of carrying out the car bomb attack in Corinto that injured 43 people. Defence Minister Diego Molano said several public officials were wounded in the blast on Friday. He claimed that the Dagoberto Ramos Mobile Column, a dissident group of the FARC, was behind the attack. "We express our solidarity with all those affected by this indiscriminate terrorist attack that took place … with a car bomb in front of the mayor’s office in Corinto,” said Molano.

Atlántico department declares red alert

The government of Colombia announced the declaration of a red alert in the Atlántico department due to a spike in cases of Covid-19 yesterday. Elsa Noguera, the department leader, made the announcement after Atlantico's ICU bed occupancy reached 87 percent. She has urged all civilians to avoid public gatherings in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Soldier killed in Catatumbo sniper attack

A Colombian solider was shot and killed in an alleged National Liberation Army (ELN) sniper attack in the Catatumbo region. Reportedly, the shooting was carried out while a platoon of soldiers were carrying out a routine patrol of the electrical and oil infrastructure they are responsible for. No arrests have been made. 

Head of La Terraza Cartel captured in Medellín

The head of La Terraza de Medellín Cartel, known as La Gallina (The Chicken), was arrested on Saturday in the Prado Centro neighborhood. The 38-year-old suspect was allegedly involved in the killing of two police officers in 2012, after which police assume he took over leadership of the cartel. The suspect also faces at least 23 charges for other crimes committed throughout Colombia. 

UN asks Colombia to dismantle criminal networks

A UN agency said that Colombia must attempt to dismantle criminal networks and corruption in the port city of Buenaventura. So far this year, Buenaventura has reported 41 homicides, 13 forced disappearances and 8,000 forced displacements. “The violence is destroying the culture and social fabric of the black and indigenous communities who live in the region, who represent more than 90% of the population,” said Juliette de Rivero, representative for the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, in a statement following a trip to the city.

Anti-personnel mines reported in Murindó

Humanitarian missions in Colombia have reported that National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas deployed a series of anti-personnel mines in Murindó, Antioquia. ELN and Gaiatanist Self-Defense of Colombia (AGC) paramilitaries have been clashing over control of the region, which is now reportedly scattered with mines in crop fields and along roads. 

Authorities capture Clan del Golfo leader's sister

Colombian police authorities reported the capture of Nini Johana Usuga, sister of the Clan del Golfo leader Dairo Antionio Usuga (aka Otoniel). “There is a lot of testimony, as well as material evidence and physical evidence, that connects her to the drug trafficking of the Clan del Golfo,” General Jorge Luis Vargas said. The Clan del Golfo is considered the country's largest drug-trafficking group and the capture was assisted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). General Vargas said the 39-year-old woman was in charge of managing the finances of the group which regularly engaged in money laundering. 

Metro services disrupted due to heavy rain

The Metro cable services were disrupted in Medellín, Antioquia due to heavy rain yesterday. The routes Aecevedo-Santo Domingo, San Javier-La Aurora and Oriente-Villa Sierra were temporarily suspended from 20:45 local time yesterday. 

Bus intercepted and set ablaze in Ituango

An unidentified armed group reportedly intercepted a passenger bus in Ituango, Antioquia yesterday morning. The bus was en route to Medellín. According to reports, eight-armed assailants asked the passengers to disembark before they set the bus on fire. The mayor of Ituango, Edwin Mauricio Mira, said FARC dissidents were likely responsible for the incident, before pledging to increase security in the area. No injuries or casualties have been reported. 

Flood warning issued due to heavy rainfall

A flood warning was issued in Valle del Cauca earlier today. The area has experienced heavy rainfall which is expected to cause severe flooding. The rainy season has already left at least seven people dead due to floods in Valle del Cauca, although the warning applies to Brisas del Río, Cañaverales, La María, San Bernabé, Florida and Cali. 

First death from Brazilian (P1) variant reported

Colombia reported its first death from the P1 (Brazilian) variant of Covid-19 over the weekend. Colombia had prohibited flights to and from Brazil when the WHO issued a warning to Brazil's neighbours over the spread of the variant. The government has now vowed to impose stricter measures in order to avoid a second wave of coronavirus. The country tallies 2.3m cases and 61,143 deaths.

Ten FARC dissidents killed, three injured in military operation

A military bombing in Bogotá left 10 FARC dissidents dead and three injured on Tuesday. Defence Minister Diego Molano tweeted that their operation "neutralized thirteen FARC dissidents" as part of a campaign to curb the recent wave of violence in the country. 

Border restrictions extended until 1 June

The Colombian government announced it would keep its land and river borders closed until at least 1 June, extended from the original 1 March deadline, citing the coronavirus pandemic. International travel remained unaffected. Colombia currently tallies 2.25m cases and 59,800 deaths due to the virus. 

Two dead, one injured in Chigorodó shooting

Two people were killed and another injured after a shooting in Chigorodó, Antioquia yesterday evening The incident took place at a transport station on Carrera 96. No arrests have been made. A municipal security council meeting was called earlier today as a result. 


New military unit CONAT launched

Colombia launched a new military unit aimed at tackling cocaine production, illicit mining and illegal armed groups today. The unit, known as CONAT (Command Against Drug Trafficking and Transnational Threats), was approved by the Constitutional Court in an effort to subdue the recent wave of violence. “The unit was born to hit, repress, and break down the structures of drug trafficking and transnational threats linked to illegal mining, the trafficking of wildlife and people, and - of course - any transnational form of terrorism,” President Ivan Duque said at a military base in Tolemaida.

One dead, two injured in antipersonnel mine explosion in Bojayá

One person was killed and two injured after an antipersonnel mine explosion in Bojayá, Chocó. Colombia's High Commissioner for Peace (OACP) has been working to clear areas of the mines which have reportedly killed around 11,975 people since 1995. The two injured victims were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. 

Colombia approves AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use

Colombia's drug regulator approved AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use on Tuesday after Colombia secured agreements with the WHO-backed COVAX portfolio and other companies to receive 10 million doses of the jab; Colombia still awaits 61.5m doses from other providers. Colombia currently tallies 2.2m Covid-19 cases and 51,118 deaths, while having administered just under 50,000 vaccines. 

UN asks Colombia to implement peace deal with FARC after recent violence

The UN has asked the Colombian government to make an effort to improve its protection of human rights activists and civilians, and fully implement a peace deal with FARC rebels in order to curb a recent surge in violence. The murder of several activists and mass killings have brought heavy criticism from the international community towards President Ivan Duque. The UNHCR has reported 133 murders of activists and community leaders, up 25 from the previous year, to which the government responded that more than half of those were still under investigation. The 2016 peace deal with the FARC had seen levels of violence drop significantly before the recent spike.

Eight killed, two injured in Tumaco shootout

A massacre in Tumaco, Narino left eight people dead, two injured and four kidnapped, local police announced. The shootout reportedly took place between Los Contadores and Olivar Sinisterra, two rival FARC dissident groups. Witnesses nearby, who were attending a football match, say authorities "completely failed to properly respond to the situation" which reportedly lasted for over an hour. 

Military accused of 6,400 extrajudicial killings

The court of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, an entity established to investigate crimes and atrocities committed in the war between FARC and government forces, has ruled that Colombia's military carried out at least 6,400 extrajudicial killings and presented them as combat deaths between 2002 and 2008. The tribunal described the killings as "illegitimate deaths presented as combat fatalities," also known as "false positives." Until last year, the public prosecutor's office had acknowledged 2,249 executions of civilians between 1988 and 2014. 

Two officers killed in Cumbal shooting

Three gunmen attacked uniformed policemen in Cumbal, Nariño on Wednesday afternoon. The attack left two of the officers dead and all three gunmen were apprehended. Police say the attack is being attributed to members of the ELN after witnesses provided testimony to the investigation. 


Five dead, one injured in Antioquia shooting

A shooting in Andres, Antioquia left five dead and one injured after a kidnapping incident turned violent. Police suspect that the 'Clan del Golfo'  group was behind the incident, which occurred on Wednesday. The shooting marks the fifth of its kind in the region for the year.

Five killed, one injured by gunmen in Antoquia

Five people were killed and another injured in a violent shooting in Andes, Antioquia. According to the surviving victim, a group of hooded, armed criminals locked them in a room and began to intimidate them when the incident escalated into a massacre. 

Attorney general accuses Ecuador's Arauz of ELN financing

Politicians and civil society members criticized Francisco Barbosa, Colombia's attorney general, for travelling to Ecuador in the middle of election season to share information with his counterpart, Diana Salazar. The information reportedly links ELN and the financing of Andrés Arauz's presidential campaign, an accusation which Arauz has denied. Critics accused Barbosa of 'interventionism' in Ecuador's democracy. 

Government to start Covid vaccine roll-out

Colombia announced it would commence its Covid-19 vaccine roll-out in Bogotá on 18 February after receiving its first shipment of vaccines on Monday - Sincelejo and Montería would follow soon thereafter. The government said it aims to vaccinate 1m people in 30 days, with healthcare workers and senior citizens being prioritized. Colombia counts 57,786 Covid-related deaths and 2,200,000 infections. 

Three police officers killed in Antioquia

Three police officers have been killed in two separate attacks in Antioquia province. Two officers from the National Police were shot dead in the Guaranda municipality south of Sucre on Sunday morning. The authorities deployed extra officers to the scene in an attempt to track down the killers. Another officer was shot dead in the Pueblo Nuevo neighbourhood by suspected Clan del Golfo hitmen.

Former FARC member killed in Putumayo

Partido Comunes announced the death of one of its former members, Antonio Ricaurte Solarte, in Putumayo. The former guerrilla was shot dead in the rural area of Orito, during which his son was also wounded. Carlos Antonio Lozada, the party's senator, said 255 former FARC members have been killed since the signing of the peace treaty with the Colombian government in 2016. 

Protest march in Buenaventura

A protest march has been held in Buenaventura by a group of citizens concerned with the recent violence in the area. The protest group, conformed by activists, students, community leaders and workers marched from Parque de las Banderas towards the city centre. No violence has been reported. 

New task force against guerrillas established

Colombian President Ivan Duque has announced the establishment of an ad hoc task force to fight dissident FARC and ELN guerrillas in Venezuela. Reportedly, the guerrilla groups have been regrouping in neighbouring Venezuela where they've found a safe haven. The task force is to be launched on 26 February. 

Warning of possible ELN attack in Bogotá

The Cuban Ambassador, Jose Luis Ponce, warned his counterparts in Colombia about a possible National Liberation Army (ELN) attack in the city's capital, Bogotá. Defense Minister Diego Molano said they were taking the warning seriously in a video broadcast. 

Temporary protective status for Venezuelan migrants

President Ivan Duque, in a joint announcement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, said that Colombia will give temporary protective legal status to Venezuelan migrants, which will allow migrants to work legally in Colombia. Colombia currently hosts around 1.7m Venezuelans without legal status, many of whom fled the deteriorating economic and security situation in Venezuela.

Hundreds displaced by Buenaventura clashes

More than 150 families have been displaced by clashes between two armed groups in the city of Buenaventura. Two local gangs - the 'Los shotas' and 'Los espartanos' - have engaged in multiple skirmishes in the port city in recent weeks. The El Tiempo newspaper reported that homicides have tripled at the start of this year when compared with 2020. Eleven people have also been reported missing in the city. The director of the National Police, Jorge Luis Vargas, has assured the public that operations are underway to reduce the violence.

Three killed by FARC dissidents, Cauca

FARC dissidents claimed responsibility for the killing of three people in Argelia, Cauca. The bodies were found with a message signed by the Carlos Patiño Front, who accused the victims of being infiltrators of the ELN. The massacre, which took place after an earlier shootout between the National Guard and FARC members, is the eleventh incident so far in 2021, according to Indepaz.

Fire in Cartagena beach hotel

A fire has broken out and burned down four beach bungalows at a hotel in Playa Blanca, Cartagena, a popular tourist destination. No deaths or injuries have been reported, and the entire hotel was evacuated. 

One FARC member killed, several injured during clash in Cauca

Authorities confirmed a violent clash between the National Army and the Carlos Patiño Structure, a sister group of FARC, in Argelia, Cauca. The clash has reportedly been ongoing for hours. There has been one confirmed death and several injuries from both sides until now. 

Weapons destined for ELN guerrillas seized by police

A shipment containing 11 semi-automatic rifles and 12 magazines of ammunition were seized in two police raids which were destined to reach the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas. Colombia's police had seized 11 Anderson AM-15 rifles and 12 magazines earlier this month. Colombia has accused the Venezuelan government of sheltering guerrillas.

Roads blocked by indigenous protesters

A protest from one of Colombia's indigenous communities, the Chocó's, resulted in two main roads being blocked early in the morning. The blocked roads are the main highways connecting Quibdó to Medellín and Pereira, and left hundreds of commuters unable to pass. The protest was brought on by a lack of services for the Chocó's children, who want better access to education and benefits. Both roads were later cleared and no violence has been reported. 



Former Mayor of Yali shot dead

The former Mayor of Yali, Oscar Alonso Mira, was shot dead by gunmen on motorcycles while visiting his parent's home in the Argentine sector. The suspects are yet to be identified. There had been two previous attempts on Mira's life.

Four shot dead in Policarpa

Four people were found dead in Policarpa, Nariño after being reported missing on 31 January. No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing. This increases the count to 11 murders in Nariño this past week. 

Twelve dead after boats sink on Colombia's Pacific coast

At least 12 people, including seven children, have died after two vessels sank near one of Colombia's Pacific coast ports, Tumaco. The cause is still being investigated and search missions are still underway. Local residents and fisherman saved 36 people, none of whom had lifejackets. 

Colombia reports two cases of Brazilian coronavirus variant

Two Colombian citizens in Leticia, capital of the country's Amazonas province, have been infected with the Brazilian variant of coronavirus (the Brazilian P1 strain), the National Health Institute (INS) reported on Sunday.  Manaus, a city in Brazil's Amazonas state which borders southern Colombia, is currently experiencing an alarming wave of Covid-19 cases driven by the new variant. Colombia ordered the suspension of passenger flights to and from Brazil for a month, as well as flights to and from Leticia for two weeks. 

Peace tribunal charges eight former FARC commanders

Eight former commanders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been charged for war crimes. In 2016, the FARC reached a peace deal with the government to cease decades of conflict. As part of the agreement, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) was created to trial those involved in one of the world's longest wars. Among the indicted include Rodrigo Londono, who is the leader of the FARC political party. Others include the senators Julian Gallo and Pablo Catatumbo, Pastor Alape, Milton de Jesus Toncel, Jaime Alberto Parra, Juan Hermildo Cabrera and Rodrigo Granda. JEP said that the charges are related to the former chiefs' leadership role that led to sexual violence, forced displacement, homicide, torture, kidnapping and other crimes.

All flights to and from Brazil suspended

All flights to and from Brazil have been suspended until the end of February due to fears of the spread of the Brazilian coronavirus variant. President Ivan Duque said that the restrictions will be implemented from Friday, 29 January. Duque also said that his government is liaising with the authorities in the Brazilian state of Amazonas to coordinate monitoring and prevention efforts. Colombia borders Amazonas, which has reported a significant increase in cases linked to this new variant. Several other countries in Latin America have also limited flights to and from Brazil.

Police investigate death of journalist near Ocana, Norte de Santander

Police are investigating the murder of a journalist in Norte de Santander. According to reports, Cristian Camillo Illera was shot dead in a remote area near Ocana. Illera was reportedly cycling along the road between Ocana and Rio de Oro. Local media reported that his death could be related to a robbery attempt. Illera succumbed to his wounds days after the attack. The incident happened days before the death of another journalist in northern Colombia. Lola Salcedo was found dead in the town of Puerto Colombia, Atlantico department. Investigations into her death are still ongoing.

Defence Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo dies of coronavirus

Defence Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has died of coronavirus. President Ivan Duque lamented his death and said that "Colombia has lost one of its best men". Trujillo was an influential politician that has been active for decades. He is the former mayor of the city of Cali and had also served as minister of foreign affairs, education and interior. He has been one of the driving forces behind the crackdown on organised crime in Colombia. He died weeks after testing positive for coronavirus. Reports show that he developed viral pneumonia while being treated at a military hospital in Bogota.

Notorious former paramilitary leader extradited from the US

A notorious former paramilitary leader has returned to Colombia after spending more than 16 years imprisoned in the US. Hernan Giraldo Serna, also known as 'El Patron', returned to Colombia on Monday. He was deported from the US and detained just after landing in Bogota. Despite serving a long sentence in the US, he is still expected to face prison time in Colombia over crimes against humanity, kidnapping, child abuse and many other crimes that affected thousands of victims. Giraldo led the so-called Tayrona Bloc, a self-styled group that operated in northern Colombia. He was first arrested in 2006 after his group's demobilisation and extradited to the US two years later.

Coronavirus deaths in Colombia hit 50,000

Coronavirus deaths in Colombia have hit 50,000 as the number of cases already confirmed in the country nears two million. Colombia is one of the most affected nations in South America. Data from the health ministry shows a significant increase in cases during January. It is believed that the wave of new infections comes after large gatherings during the Christmas holidays. Major cities are nearing their full capacity in intensive care units - they include Bogota, Medellin and Cali. Colombia is expected to start its vaccination campaign in February.

Prosecutor requests Alvaro Uribe's trial reset

A prosecutor has asked a judge to accept a request from lawyers of former President Alvaro Uribe after allegations of the mishandling of judicial procedures during his trial. Gabriel Jaimes is the prosecutor in charge of the historical case against Uribe. He has asked a judge to overturn a previous ruling to keep a Supreme Court indictment in place. If the judge accepts the request, the trial would be allowed to be reset, while some charges could be dropped in the future. Uribe is facing a trial for witness tampering related to his alleged links with right-wing paramilitary groups.

Authorities investigate councilman's kidnap in Argelia, Cauca

The authorities are investigating the kidnapping of a local councilman in the south-western town of Argelia. Colombia's high commissioner for peace, Miguel Ceballos, said that investigations were opened over the potential involvement of the National Liberation Army (ELN). Fermiliano Meneses was kidnapped earlier this week and found dead days later. Meneses has been an advocate of the government's crop substitution programme. He took office after winning the last local elections. Argelia is located in the Cauca department, where paramilitary and militant groups widely operate.

Defense minister admitted to ICU due to coronavirus complications

Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has been admitted to an intensive care unit after testing positive for coronavirus. According to the presidency, Trujillo developed respiratory complications and was taken to a military hospital in Bogota. General Luis Fernando Navarro will replace Trujillo while he recovers. Trujillo is the latest high-level official to contract the coronavirus. Foreign Minister Claudia Blum and Vice-President Marta Ramirez had also previously tested positive.

Full weekend lockdown to be enforced in Bogota

A total quarantine will be enforced in Bogota during the weekend to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Mayor Claudia Lopez confirmed that for the third consecutive weekend, a full lockdown will be implemented in Bogota. Curfew measures will be extended until 28 January. It is enforced between 20:00 and 04:00. Colombia is on track to reported two million coronavirus cases and 50,000 deaths - Bogota has reported a quarter of all cases and more than a fifth of deaths.

Indigenous leader briefly kidnapped in Cauca

An indigenous leader in the north-western department of Antioquia has been kidnapped. The Justice and Peace Commission confirmed that Jesus Bailarin was taken in the area of Bajo Atrato after allegations that he cooperated with the National Liberation Army (ELN). Reports suggest that members of the Clan del Golfo - also referred to as the Gaitanistas Autodefenses of Colombia (AGC) - are behind his abduction. Indigenous groups are often caught in the battle between warring paramilitary factions and militant groups. According to reports, Bailarin was already released.

Police investigate seizure of assault rifles in Magdalena

Colombian customs have seized several assault rifles and a cache of ammunition in a control post in the northern department of Magdalena. Authorities are investigating if the weapons were being shipped to Venezuela. A source told Reuters that the shipment came from the US. According to the police, the weapons were hidden in a shipment of used clothes that departed from Bogota. Magdalena is located on the Caribbean coast and close to the Venezuelan border.

US nationals arrested over fake coronavirus certificate in Cartagena

Three US nationals have been arrested in Cartagena, northern Colombia, after presenting a fraudulent coronavirus certificate. Migracion Colombia confirmed that the tourists were arrested at the Rafael Nunez International Airport (CTG). According to the authorities, the passengers presented a fake coronavirus certificate which stated that they tested negative. After analysing the document, officials identified that the certificates belonged to someone else who took the test back in October. People in Colombia are required to present a negative PCR  test before departure.

President Duque extends selective quarantine until late-February

President Ivan Duque has announced that a so-called 'selective quarantine' will be extended until the end of February. As part of a government programme to ensure that businesses and economic activity are not directly affected, the quarantine is mainly directed at most vulnerable. The decision comes due to a high occupancy rate of intensive care beds. A curfew has already been imposed in Bogota. Other cities have been urged to imposed additional restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Colombia is on track to reported two million coronavirus cases and 47,000 deaths.

Several killed in separate incidents in Caqueta and Cali

At least three people have been killed in an armed attack in Caqueta, southern Colombia. Local media reported that the incident happened on the main road between Florencia and Morelia. Reports indicate that gunmen raided a local business and opened fire indiscriminately. In Cali, three others were killed in a separate incident believed to be linked to a territorial dispute. Local authorities have recently warned people in some areas in southern Colombia - including Cauca and Putumayo - to remain vigilant due to the expansion of criminal and paramilitary groups.

Red alert issued in Bogota due to potential UK coronavirus variant

Local authorities in Bogota have declared a red alert over a potential spread of the UK variant of the coronavirus in the capital. Mayor Claudia Lopez said that the new UK variant was already detected in the capital but confirmation is still needed. Lockdown measures have already been imposed across three districts in Bogota. Lopez said that one of the worst affected areas of the capital is Usaquen. From mid-January, several areas of the city will face a curfew between 20:00 and 04:00. Restrictions have also been imposed in the city of Medellin, Antioquia.

Guatemalan wanted by US arrested in Bogota

A Guatemalan national accused of facilitating drug-trafficking to the US has been arrested in Colombia. EFE reported that Harol Orlando Saldana Natareno was arrested at Bogota's El Dorado Airport (BOG). He has been the subject of a US extradition order. Saldana is accused of facilitating the shipment of drugs from Colombia to Mexico and Guatemala before redirecting them to the US. Following a crackdown on the Caribbean trafficking routes, criminal groups in South America have expanded their operations in Central American countries in attempts to reach the US market.

Several migrants missing after boat capsize off Choco

Several people have been reported missing after a boat transporting more than a dozen migrants capsized off northern Colombia. Reports show that the accident happened in the Gulf of Uruba, off Acandi in the Choco department. The area is known as key drug-trafficking and migrant smuggling route between Colombia and Panama. Authorities said nine people were rescued but several others were reported missing. Colombia's Caribbean coast has become a key migrant smuggling route for those that attempt to reach the US through Central America.

Coronavirus lockdown imposed in three areas in Bogota

A coronavirus lockodown has been imposed across three high-risk areas in northern Bogota due to surge in coronavirus cases. The government has announced that enhanced restrictions will be imposed in the areas of Usaquen, Suba and Engativa from midnight Tuesday until 18 January. The decision comes after an increase in the occupation of intensive care beds in the capital. Bogota has reported 480,000 coronavirus cases and 10,000 deaths - Colombia has reported 1.7m cases in total.

Former FARC militant killed in Caqueta

A demobilised member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been gunned down in the southern department of Caqueta. According to the police, the incident happened in the town of Cartagena del Chaira and is the second former FARC combatant to be killed this year. Members of the FARC political party condemned both incidents and demanded the immediate implementation of the peace deal. Since it was signed in late-2016, more than 250 former guerillas were killed across Colombia. Caqueta is among the departments where FARC dissidents operate.

President Duque rules out free vaccine for undocumented migrants

President Ivan Duque has said that undocumented migrants in Colombia will not be given a free coronavirus vaccination. President Duque told Blu Radio that the decision has been taken to prevent people from crossing en masse from Venezuela and other countries to access the vaccine. He highlighted that those that have legal residence in the country will be given the vaccination free of charge. Official data shows that more than 60 percent of all Venezuelans that live in Colombia - currently estimated to be 1.8m - are undocumented. Critics claim that the government's decision could fuel discrimination and increase the risk of infections in some areas close to the border.

Russia expels Colombian diplomats in tit-for-tat move

Russia has expelled two Colombian diplomats in a tit-for-tat move amid rising diplomatic tensions between both countries. Earlier this month, Colombia declared two Russian diplomats persona non grata due to allegations that they violated international diplomatic protocols. Local media reported that the incident could be related to espionage allegations, but the causes were not officially confirmed. Since President Ivan Duque took office, Colombia's politics have aligned with the US in many aspects, especially towards Venezuela. Russia is among the nations that recognise the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, while Colombia backs opposition leader Juan Guaido.

President Duque replaces head of the National Police

President Ivan Duque has announced changes in the leadership of the National Police. Jorge Luis Vargas, the current head of the police's citizen's security unit, will now lead the force after the retirement of Oscar Atehortua. Atehortua is currently being investigated by the public ministry for alleged corruption. President Duque praised Atehortua's work and highlighted that during his tenure - he was named police director in 2018 - murder rates in Colombia dropped. In addition, Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo announced changes to other departments in the police.

UN Rights chief condemns hike in violent from non-state actors

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has condemned the increase in violence from non-state organisations in Colombia. She urged the Colombian government to step up efforts to protect communities - among them indigenous and rights defenders - against paramilitary, militant and criminal groups. According to the UN, more than 60 massacres were reported in Colombia in 2020, with more than 250 people losing their lives across 18 departments. Bachelet's spokeswoman said that the number of victims and incidents could be much higher. Afro and indigenous communities in Colombia are often subject to violence from militant groups.

Three killed in armed attack in Caucasia, Antioquia

At least three people have been killed and several others injured in a violent attack in the northern department of Antioquia. EFE reported that the incident happened on Sunday in the area of Cuturu, located in the town of Caucasia. Reports indicate that the assailants were wearing police uniforms and arrived in the village through three speedboats on the Nechi River. Authorities believe that the perpetrators were members of the Clan del Golfo. The incident happened days after another similar incident happened in the nearby town of El Bagre. Caucasia is located in the Bajo Cauca region, a restive area in northern Colombia where militant and paramilitary groups widely operate.

Senator arrested for bribing judge in Atlantico

Senator Eduardo Pulgar Daza has been arrested after he was accused of offering bribes to a judge. Pulgar Daza was detained on Tuesday afternoon at the El Dorado International Airport in Bogota. His arrest was ordered by the Supreme Court of Justice last week. He was charged with influence peddling, violation of electoral rules and bribery. The alleged crimes occurred back in 2017, a year before he was re-elected. Pulgar Daza is accused of offering bribes to a municipal judge based in the northern department of Atlantico to benefit his friends' companies to acquire public contracts.

FARC dissident killed during operation in La Macarena, Meta

A hitman working for a dissident FARC front in central Colombia has been killed in a shooting with the military. Reports show that Andres Cortes Polania, alias 'Fercho, was gunned down by soldiers of the Joint Task Force Omega in La Macarena, Meta department. Dissident FARC fronts that did not adhere to the peace agreement still operate in rural areas in Colombia. They are mainly engaged in drug-trafficking, extortion and other crimes. FARC dissidents are also known for targeting the security forces and clashing with rival paramilitary and militant groups.

Clan del Golfo members arrested for links to Betania massacre

Three suspects have been arrested for links to a massacre in the northern town of Betania, Antioquia. Police have confirmed that the suspects are members of the Clan del Golfo, an influential paramilitary group that widely operate in northern Colombia. The group is accused of orchestrating last week's attack, which killed 10 people at a coffee farm. Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo confirmed that eh suspects are members of the 'Bloque Suroeste' unit. Clan del Golfo and other militant groups such as the National Liberation Army (ELN) widely operate in Antioquia. They are often associated with extortion, drug-trafficking and armed attacks.

Two killed and hundreds affected as fire ravages Riosucio, Choco

At least two people have been killed after a fire destroyed dozens of homes in the north-western town of Riosucio, Choco. According to officials, more than 250 people were left homeless when the fire destroyed a low-income residential area. The regional government in Choco said that one person is missing. The fire broke out on Saturday evening and it is still unclear what caused it.

Operation Orion VI leads to massive cocaine seizure in Colombia

More than 90 tonnes of cocaine have been seized during the sixth phase of a major international operation against drug-trafficking in Colombia. President Ivan Duque has confirmed that between mid-September and late-October, more than 400 people were detained and 70 vessels seized. In addition, five submarines and seven aircraft were also apprehended. In total, 29 countries took part in the 'Campana Naval Orion VI' that was supported by law enforcement agencies and the military. Colombia has been facing increasing pressure from the US and some European partners to address drug-trafficking. The country is the world's largest cocaine producer.

Coronavirus emergency extended until February 2021

President Ivan Duque has announced the extension of the current state of emergency in Colombia until at least February 2021. Since March, stringent measures have been enforced nationwide to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Lockdown measures were recently relaxed in an attempt to resume economic activity and international travel. President Duque said in a statement that the state of emergency will last until 28 February so the government can control and monitor the pandemic. Colombia has reported more than 1.2 million coronavirus cases and nearly 36,000 deaths.

HRW report claims that inmates at La Modelo were deliberately shot

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report has alleged that several inmates killed during a prison riot in Bogota back in March were deliberately shot. The report reads: “Most of the gunshot wounds described in the autopsy reports are consistent with having been produced with the objective of killing." The report has not identified who was behind the shooting as investigations are still ongoing. At least 24 people died when a violent riot broke out at La Modelo prison in Bogota.

Several killed in landslides in Puerto Valdivia, Antioquia

At least seven people have been killed and several others injured after a landslide hit Puerto Valdivia, Antioquia. Local authorities confirmed that several people are still missing, while multiple roads were blocked. Dozens of people were also trapped inside a public building. Heavy rainfall hit north-western Colombia on Monday, causing intense flooding and landslides. The Colombian Meteorological Institute (IDEAM) forecast that intense rainfall is forecast to hit the country's northern region until at least the end of the month due to the impact of the 'La Nina' phenomenon.

Several killed in separate incidents in Antioquia and Cauca

More than a dozen people have been killed in two violent incidents reported in the departments of Antioquia and Cauca. AFP reported that in the town of Betania, Antioquia, eight workers died when criminals raided a farm overnight on Saturday. According to the local mayor, heavily armed men raided the farm and opened fire. In Argelia, Cauca, five others died in three separate attacks. Paramilitary and militant groups are known for operating in the rural areas of both departments.

Thousands march in Bogota amid wave of anti-government protests

Thousands of demonstrations took to the streets across Colombia to protest against the government of President Ivan Duque. Protesters marched to demand better social programmes, healthcare, higher wages and jobs. Demonstrators also demanded enhanced security in rural areas where indigenous and rights leaders often face the threat of criminal and paramilitary groups. Protests are expected to take place over the weekend in Bogota and other major cities. People should remain vigilant and avoid large gatherings as demonstrations could turn violent.

Colombia requests extension of landmine removal operations

Colombia has asked the Ottawa Convention to extend landmine removal operations until 2025. In a communique, the high-commissioner for peace commissioner, Miguel Ceballos, confirmed the request over claims that some demining operations are still underway. Colombia is considered one of the worst-affected countries by landmines, with more than half of all municipalities affected. Currently, the deadline to remove all landmines in Colombia is due to expire in March 2021. The Ottawa Convention was signed back in 1999 amid efforts to ban anti-personnel landmines.

Hurricane Iota causes extensive damage in Providencia

Hurricane Iota has caused extensive damage in the Colombian island of Providencia. Providencia Mayor Jorge Norberto confirmed that around 98 percent of the island's infrastructure was damaged. At least one person has died and thousands have been affected. Providencia is part of an archipelago that is also comprised of San Andres and Santa Catalina. The islands are located off Central America. Assistance is set to be sent to the island this week to assess the extent of the damage. In San Andres, power cuts affected the entire island, while the airport's landing strip was flooded.

Paramilitary leader killed during operation in Taraza, Antioquia

A joint military operation in the north-western department of Antioquia has led to the death of the leader of Los Caparros. Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has confirmed in a press conference that Emiliano Alcides Osorio Macea, alias 'Cain', was killed in the town of Taraza. Cain was known as Los Caparros' leader since 2016 after the group split from the Clan del Golfo. Los Caparros is accused of being associated with the death of social leaders, extortion and drug-trafficking in the Baja Cauca region in the departments of Antioquia and Cordoba.

Former FARC militants gunned down in southern Colombia

Two former militants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been killed in separate incidents in southern Colombia. According to the FARC political party, one of the victims was gunned down alongside his wife in the town of Puerto Guzman. In Florencia, in the department of Caqueta, two gunmen targeted another demobilised guerrilla. It is estimated that since the peace deal was signed back in 2016, more than 240 former FARC militants have been killed in Colombia.

Hurricane Iota affects Colombia and triggers alerts in San Andres

Hurricane Iota has caused extensive damage across northern Colombia, triggering landslides and flooding in the region. Although Iota was relatively far from the country's northern shores, the slow-moving system caused extensive damage in the northern departments. In Antioquia, three people died when a mudslide hit a residence in the town of Dabeiba. The highest threat to the country is currently to San Andres and Providencia, two Colombian islands in the Caribbean. The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued warnings to both islands. People in San Andres and Providencia should follow the advice from the Colombian Meteorological Institute (IDEAM).

Eight killed in fire at police station in Soacha, Cundinamarca

At least eight people have allegedly been killed after a fire broke out at a police station in Cundinamarca. The incident dates back to early-September when violent protests erupted in Bogota after the death of a man in police custody. The councilman said that as tensions escalated, a fire broke out at the Soacha police station, where 11 people were detained. A local councilman denounced the incident and raised concerns over police brutality in Colombia.

Former President Gaviria to testify before truth commission

Former President Cesar Gaviria has been summoned to testify before a truth commission created to investigate crimes committed during the periods before the peace deal with the FARC. Gaviria, who is the leader of the Liberal Party (PL), has agreed to collaborate with the investigations. Gaviria was president between 1990 and 1994, a period when Colombia was plagued by the cartels in Medellin and Cali. He will be questioned over the constituent assembly of 1991 and drug policies. Gaviria is the second former president to testify before the commission after Ernesto Samper.

President Duque holds talks with former FARC guerillas

President Ivan Duque held talks with former leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) after a major demonstration took place in Bogota. Former militants of the FARC and their supporters marched to the capital to demand protection against criminal groups. Since the peace deal was signed, more than 230 demobilised guerillas were murdered in Colombia. The government is often accused of failing to adhere to some aspects of the peace agreement. In the latest meeting, President Duque said that major projects on land purchases will be fast-tracked.

Gomez Hurtado's son rejects FARC's links to 1995 assassination

The son of former presidential candidate Gomez Hurtado has rejected claims that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was behind his father's assassination. Hurtado was running for office, for the third time, when he was killed in 1995. Last month, three former FARC commanders acknowledged the group's involvement in Hurtado's death. However, his son, Mauricio Gomez, claimed that his assassination was carried out by agents of the state. His claims are based on his father's criticism to the infamous 'Proceso 8000' that implicated President Ernesto Samper - Proceso 8000 investigated President Samper's alleged links to the Cali Cartel.

FARC acknowledges links to VP murder plot

The leader of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) has acknowledged the group's involvement in the attempted killing attempt of former Vice-President German Vargas Lleras. Rodrigo Londono has said in a letter addressed to former President Juan Manuel Santos that the guerilla group was involved in the two incidents back in the early-2000s - Vargas served as Manuel Santos' VP. Londono added that he will present the facts before a judge of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP). Last month, former FARC leaders claimed responsibility for the group's plot to kill Alvaro Gomez Hurtado, a journalist and former presidential candidate. Hurtado was killed in 1995 in Bogota.

Thousands of demobilised guerrillas march in Bogota

More than 2,000 demobilised members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have taken to the streets of Bogota to protest the death of former militants in Colombia. Demonstrators marched from the town of Mesetas towards Bogota to demand justice and security guarantees to demobilised guerrillas. It is estimated that more than 230 former combatants have been killed since the peace agreement was signed in 2016. The death of former militants highlights political tensions between President Ivan Duque and demobilised FARC members. The FARC political party has accused the government of failing to adhere to the peace deal conditions.

Colombian-Spanish activist gunned down in Nuqui, Choco

A Colombian-Spanish activist has been gunned down in the north-western department of Choco. EFE reported that Juan Maria Perea Plata was killed in the town of Nuqui. Juana's relatives told EFE that she was based in the town of Termales where she was building an eco-resort. Nuqui's mayor said that Juana was working in biodiversity initiatives and led the hoteliers' association in the city. She and her cousin were also known for opposing the construction of the Tribuga port. Choco is known for the presence of paramilitary and militant groups engaged in drug-trafficking.

Indigenous senator targeted in armed attack in Cauca

An indigenous senator has been the target of an armed attack in the south-western department of Cauca. Feliciano Valencia is a senator for the Indigenous and Social Alternative Movement (MAIS). He was targeted on a highway near the town of Valencia. Reports suggest that Valencia was travelling to the town of Tacueyo to take part in a ceremony with other indigenous and social leaders. Valencia was not injured in the attack. The latest incident highlights the threat to indigenous people in Cauca. So far this year, 76 indigenous people have been killed in the department.

President Duque orders extension of self-isolation guidelines

President Ivan Duque has announced the extension of the so-called selective isolation measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Colombia. President Duque said that he instructed the health ministry to extend the measures until at least the end of November. In addition, social distancing guidelines will also be enforced. In order to reopen the economy, the government has advised people that have coronavirus symptoms or are vulnerable to the virus to self-isolate. The country has recently surpassed the million-case mark, while the current death toll sits at 30,000.

ELN commander killed in military operation in Choco

A commander of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has been gunned down during a military operation in the north-western department of Choco. President Ivan Duque has confirmed that alias 'Uriel' was killed on Sunday evening. Reports suggest that Uriel was an influential commander of the ELN, especially amongst younger members. He is accused of leading the ELN's Western War Front and for involvement in kidnap, the recruitment of minors, attacks against the security forces and rights violations. El Espectador reported that Uriel died in the isolated area of Novita. 

Coronavirus cases in Colombia hit one million

Coronavirus cases in Colombia have surpassed one million as the government struggles to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Colombia has become the country in Latin America with the highest total number of confirmed cases after Brazil, and the third in the region to hit the one-million-case mark. The increase in coronavirus cases is believed to be attributed to the relaxation of restrictions after a stringent six-month lockdown. In total, nearly 30,000 people have died in Colombia.

Four Mexican cartels currently active in Colombia

A high-level government official has claimed that four Mexican cartels are currently operating in Colombia. President Ivan Duque's national security aide, Rafael Guarin, said that the groups are closely associated with the National Liberation Army (ELN), FARC dissidents and paramilitary groups. Guarin said that the most active among them is the Sinaloa Cartel, which is mainly associated with the ELN, the Clan del Golfo and FARC dissidents. Others include the Cartel Beltran-Levya, the Cartel Jalisco New Generation and the Los Zetas. Mexican cartel operations in Colombia are mainly related to the cocaine business, with representatives sent to monitor the quality of drugs and other operational aspects of drug shipments bound to the US through Mexico.

Former councilman shot dead in Pasto, Narino

A former councilman has been murdered in the south-western town of Pasto, Narino. Indepaz said that gunmen killed Franco Ojeda in the Mariluz neighbourhood. Ojeda was a local lawyer and also active in political projects. A nationwide strike has been launched in Colombia to condemn the death of social and political leaders, who are often attacked by militant and paramilitary groups. Incidents are most common in rural and isolated jungle areas where criminal entities are present.

Government raises alert over violence in Quibdo, Choco

Colombia's government has raised an alert due to spiralling levels of violence being reported in the northern department of Choco. During the coronavirus pandemic, isolated areas in Colombia have faced a rise in criminality related to militant and paramilitary groups. Authorities raised concerns after a local criminal group, self-entitled 'Fuerzas Armadas Mexicanas', ordered a curfew in the town of Quibdo. Choco has reported more than 100 murders so far this year. President Ivan Duque visited Choco earlier this week to coordinate efforts to curb the rise in criminality.

Massive indigenous caravan arrives in Bogota

An indigenous caravan which travelled hundreds of kilometres has arrived in Bogota in the hope of meeting with President Ivan Duque. Thousands of people took part in the journey to pressure the government to address violence against indigenous communities in Colombia. The indigenous leadership has already met with high-level government officials to address the situation but they are still demanding to meet with the president and other members of the executive power. Violence against indigenous communities mostly occurs in the south-western department of Cauca, where dissident members of the FARC, the National Liberation Army and other militant groups widely operate.

High-influx of Venezuelan migrants reported in Norte de Santander

A high-influx of migrants continue to arrive on the Colombian border as the Venezuelan political and financial crisis intensifies. Despite a period of relative calm, thousands of people have returned daily to the border crossing on the Simon Bolivar Bridge in Cucuta. A local official told EFE that more and more migrants are attempting to cross towards the department of Norte de Santander. The regional government has already implemented additional measures to avoid large gatherings that could exacerbate the coronavirus risk in the region.

UN envoy concerned over death of demobilised FARC militants

The UN special envoy to Colombia, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, has urged for government action on the systematic killing of demobilised militants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Ruiz Massieu told the UN Security Council: “Priority should be given to staffing and resources for the National Protection Unit to clear the backlog of pending requests for protection for former combatants". UN data shows that since the peace deal was signed in 2016, more than 220 demobilised FARC guerillas were killed in Colombia - 19 of them have died in the last three months.

Three killed in light aircraft crash in Cundinamarca

Three people have been killed after a light aircraft crashed in the central department of Cundinamarca. According to the Colombian Civil Aviation (ACC) authority, the accident happened on a flight between Santa Marta and Guayamaral. The ACC confirmed that the crash occurred near the town of Ubate. Reports showed that the single survivor of the crash is a baby.

Defense minister survives vote of no confidence in parliament

Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has survived a vote of no confidence in parliament. Trujillo has been accused of mishandling the protests which took place in Bogota last year. In a vote held on Tuesday, 136 lawmakers voted against and 24 in favour. Most recently, Colombian security forces have been accused of an authoritarian approach to protests. In September, a 46-year-old man named Javier Ordonez died during a protest in Bogota. Trujillo will face another vote of confidence in the Senate next week. The case concerns the presence of US soldiers in Colombian territory.

Alvaro Uribe released from house arrest

Former President Alvaro Uribe has been released from house arrest as he is the main subject of a high-profile trial on witness tampering. Uribe is considered one of the most influential politicians in Colombia and the mentor of President Ivan Duque. He was put under house arrest back in August after giving up his seat in the Senate. Uribe is still the target of an investigation into witness tampering related to his alleged involvement with right-wing paramilitary groups. Last month, the Supreme Court handed over the case to be investigated by the Attorney General's Office.

FARC dissidents set UN vehicle on fire in Caqueta

Dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have set a UN vehicle on fire in the southern department of Caqueta. EFE reported that the incident happened in the town of San Vicente del Caguan when the vehicle of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was targeted. The People's Ombudsman office said that the attack could be related to the FARC's Frente 40. FARC dissident fronts widely operate in Caqueta and other departments along the Ecuadorian border. 

Former FARC leader acknowledges links to forced recruitment of minors

A former commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has acknowledged the group's involvement in the recruitment of minors. Milton de Jesus Toncel, alias 'Joaquin Gomez', told the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) as part of a new case on the use of minors in the conflict. Julian Gallo, another former commander, previously said that forced recruitment was not frequent. It is estimated that nearly 17,000 minors have joined FARC fronts during the group's years of activity. The JEP was established to investigate crimes committed during the decades that the FARC was active. Last week, Gallo and two other former commanders acknowledged the group's involvement in the murder of the presidential candidate Alvaro Gomez Hurtado in 1995.

Local indigenous leader gunned down in Narino

A local indigenous leader has been gunned down in the south-western department of Narino. In a communique, an indigenous organisation said that Ana Bisbicus was shot dead by an armed group in Buenavista. Bisbicus was part of the Awa tribe in Barbacoas. Reports suggest that Bisbicus was targeted following a funeral held over the weekend. Indigenous and social leaders are systematically attacked by militant and criminal groups linked to drug-trafficking in rural areas in Colombia. Narino is one of the most violent departments in Colombia.

FARC claims responsibility for 1995 death of presidential candidate

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has claimed responsibility for the assassination of the former presidential candidate Alvaro Gomez Hurtado. In a letter sent to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), the group acknowledged its involvement in Hurtado's death back in 1995. On the same letter, the group also claimed responsibility for the death of five others, including members of the military, a lawmaker and a political aide. He was shot dead in Bogota. The letter's signatories include former commander Pastor Alape and the FARC lawmakers Julian Gallo and Pablo Catatumbo.

Political leader killed at home in Medellin

A prominent political leader and academic has been gunned down at his home in Medellin. Campo Elias Galindo was a member of the left-wing Colombia Humana movement and a respected historian. Semana reported that he died when gunmen raided his residence in Los Pinos. Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero has offered a reward for information leading to the capture of those involved in the crime. Galindo was known for being an avid critic of the infamous Hidroituango project in Antioquia. His death was condemned by a number of opposition leaders.

Former senator's security detail targeted in Bogota

Gunmen have targeted the security detail of a former senator in Bogota. According to the police, the incident happened in the southern neighbourhood of Kennedy on Wednesday evening. Piedad Cordoba had been dropped off at home by her bodyguards when the shooters opened fire at an armoured vehicle. Reports indicate that the weapon of one of the guards was stolen. Cordoba was a senator for 16 years. In 2010 she was banned from office for alleged links to the FARC.

Land and maritime borders to remain shut during October

Maritime, river and land borders in Colombia will remain shut during October as the government attempts to control the spread of the coronavirus. Migracion Colombia announced that the decision will also allow improved coordination between regional and local authorities to prepare for a gradual reopening of the borders. Colombia has launched one of the most stringent coronavirus lockdowns in Latin America. Official data shows that 824,000 coronavirus cases were confirmed in the country.

Avianca to resume flights to Mexico

Avianca has said that flights between Colombia and Mexico will resume on Thursday after months of suspension. In a statement, the company confirmed plans to gradually resume operations to other destinations from October. There will be at least two flights per week to Mexico City and Cancun. Other destinations include Brazil, El Salvador, Ecuador, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic and the US. Avianca has been facing intense financial pressure since flights were suspended at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. In May, the company filed for bankruptcy protection at a US court after it suffered major losses.

Military rescues migrants left stranded on the Caribbean Sea

Nearly 100 migrants have been left stranded in the Caribbean Sea while heading towards Panama. According to the military, the migrants were being transported to the heavy jungle area of the Darien, which has become one of the main routes for migrants heading towards the US, when their boat's engine failed. The military said that the migrants were from Haiti and among those rescued included 33 children. The migrants were left stranded near Acandi and later taken to Turbo.

FARC dissident leaders reemerge in new communique

A communique featuring several FARC dissident leaders has emerged on the internet, months after video footage was released to demand the resignation of President Ivan Duque. Ivan Marquez, Jesus Santrich and Hernan Dario Velasquez featured in a statement reiterating calls on the government to step down. This is their latest communication since August 2019, when they announced the creation of a new dissident movement called the 'Segunda Marquetalia'. They also urged the government to address and prevent the deaths of demobilised guerrillas in Colombia.

Former AUC leader extradited from the US

A former paramilitary leader has been extradited to Colombia after serving 12 years in prison in the US. Rodrigo Tovar, alias 'Jorge 40', was the leader of a front of the right-wing Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). He faces hundreds of investigations and a dozen arrest warrants in Colombia for his links to war crimes and other incidents. He is the former ally of Salvatore Mancuso who is currently serving a drug-trafficking sentence in the US - the Colombian government has already requested for Mancuso's extradition to be charged with crimes committed when he led the AUC. The AUC was dismantled back in 2006 after a peace deal signed with then-President Alvaro Uribe.

Six killed in violent clashes near Tumaco, Narino

At least six people have been killed following clashes involving dissident members of the FARC and a local drug-trafficking group in Narino, south-western Colombia. The incident happened near an indigenous reserve in Tumaco. Reports indicate that those involved include members of the FARC dissident front Oliver Sinisterra, which widely operate in south-western Colombia. Clashes in Narino often occur due to territorial disputes between militants and drug-trafficking groups.

Four killed in violent massacre in Narino

Four people have been killed in a violent incident in the south-western department of Narino. The incident happened last week, but news about it only emerged over the weekend after a video was released online. According to reports, the incident happened in an isolated area near El Charco and Mosquera. Dozens of similar incidents have been reported across Colombia since the FARC peace deal was signed back in 2016. The NGO Indepaz says that more than 60 attacks were reported in 2020, leading to nearly 250 victims - most of them in Narino, Antioquia and Cauca.

Coronavirus deaths in Colombia hit 25,000

Coronavirus deaths in Colombia have surpassed 25,000 as the number of cases continues to rise. Latest data from the health ministry shows that more than 800,000 cases have already been confirmed in the country - nearly 79,000 of them are still active. The increase in coronavirus cases and deaths comes after the government relaxed some measures in the aftermath of a stringent five-month-long lockdown. From all cases, more than 262,000 of them were reported in Bogota. Colombia has reported the fifth-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world.

Three killed in Algerciras attack

Three people have been killed in an attack in Algeciras in Huila department. Gunmen raided a farm in the village of Quebradón Sur in a rural area on Tuesday night, according to the mayor's office in Algerciras. Two of the victims have been identified as 43-year-old Jimmy Betancourt Ortiz and 25-year-old Alejandro Betancourt.

Six killed in Cauca attack

At least six people have been killed in an attack in the south-western province of Cauca. The incident took place in the Buenos Aires municipality in the north of the province on Sunday. The conflict monitor Indepaz said almost 250 people have been killed in 60 massacres so far this year.

US offers $5m reward for ELN leader

The US is offering a $5m reward for information leading to the arrest of the leader of the National Liberation Army (ELN), Wilver Villegas Palomino. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Palomino is an "indicted narcoterrorist." Pompeo made the announcement after he travelled to the country to meet President Ivan Duque. Peace talks between the Colombian government and the ELN have stalled after the group was accused of carrying out a number of mass killings in Narino province.

Protesters topple conquistador statue, Popayan

Indigenous protesters have toppled a statue of a Spanish conquistador in the south-western city of Popayan. The statue of Sebastian de Belalcazar was brought down by ropes by members of the Misak community. Belalcazar founded the city in 1537, although indigenous leaders said he represents five centuries of genocide and slavery.

Protests against police brutality in Bogota turns deadly

At least 10 people have been killed after violent protests against police brutality broke out in Bogota. Demonstrations erupted after the death of a man whilst he was being detained. Javier Ordonez was known as a lawyer and died moments later. Defence Minister Carlos Trujillo condemned the wave of civil unrest and said that additional police will be deployed. Protests are likely to continue over the weekend. Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez confirmed the death toll increase and said that most of them died after being shot. Hundreds of people have also been injured.

Protests break out after man is killed during detention in Bogota

Protests broke out after the police killed a man for violating quarantine restrictions in Bogota. The incident happened on Tuesday when two police officers attempted to detain a 45-year-old man identified as Javier Ordonez. A video released online showed the officers beating him up. Defense Minister Carlos Trujillo has condemned the incident and launched an investigation into both officers. Stringent quarantine measures across Latin America have led to an increase in police brutality reports. In Colombia, rights groups said that at least 11 people were killed by the police this year.

Four killed in armed attack in Buesaco, Narino

At least four people have been killed in an armed raid in the south-western department of Narino. Local authorities confirmed that the victims were found in the town of Buesaco. Investigations of who is behind the incident are still ongoing. Several paramilitary and militant groups operate in Narino. This is the third massacre to be reported in the department in less than a month. Incidents are often related to disputes to control strategic drug-trafficking routes.

Several killed in two separate incidents in northern Colombia

At least eight people have been killed in two separate incidents in northern Colombia. In the rural area of Zaragoza, Antioquia, police officers and the military were deployed after five people were found dead. Zaragoza is located in the Bajo Cauca region, where violence is often attributed to militant and paramilitary groups engaged in drug-trafficking. Another incident was also reported in the town of Simiti, Bolivar department, where three people died. Rural areas in Colombia have suffered a significant increase in violence amid stringent coronavirus measures being imposed across the country.

Former AUC chief accuses high-level politicians of paramilitary links

A former paramilitary leader has accused the Colombian ambassador in the US of involvement with a paramilitary group in Colombia. Mancuso was recently released from prison after serving a drug-trafficking sentence in the US - Colombia currently seeks his extradition. He said in a letter sent to former minister Alvaro Levya Duran that several ministers linked to former President Alvaro Uribe were also linked to the United Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). Among them include the Colombian Ambassador Francisco Santos who is currently based in Washington DC. Uribe is currently being trialled in a case of witness tampering that involved a paramilitary member.

Police officers killed in armed attack in Caucasia, Antioquia

At least two police officers have been killed and another injured in an armed attack in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. President Ivan Duque confirmed that the incident happened in the rural area of Caucasia during an operation against illegal mining, a practice often associated with paramilitary and militant groups. Violence in isolated areas in Colombia has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. Caucasia is located in the restive region of Bajo Cauca, where groups such as the National Liberation Army (ELN) and other paramilitary entities are known to operate.

Coronavirus restrictions lifted across Colombia

Colombia has lifted a number of coronavirus restrictions after months of stringent measures being imposed to curb the spread of the virus. As the country attempts to recover its economy, a number of business sectors have been allowed to reopen. Bogota's El Dorado Airport has already reopened for both international and domestic travel. Non-essential businesses and informal vendors have limited operating hours. Recent data shows that since the pandemic hit Colombia, the country's economy plunged by more than 16 percent and unemployment rates soared.

Supreme Court hands over Alvaro Uribe's case to AG's office

Colombia's Supreme Court has handed over evidence against former President Alvaro Uribe to the attorney general. Uribe is being investigated for witness tampering and fraud. In an unexpected move, he was placed under house arrest last month after resigning from his seat in the Senate. In late-August, Uribe's lawyers requested that the case be transferred to the AG's office. The move came after Uribe's defence claimed that he is no longer a politician after quitting his seat - in Colombia, corruption cases involving politicians are usually trialled at the Supreme Court.

Police recovers three bodies on a road in Abrego, Norte de Santander

Police have recovered three bodies dumped on a road in the bordering department of Norte de Santander. According to reports, the victims were found in the rural town of Abrego and their bodies had sustained gunshot wounds. A number of murders have been reported across Colombia in recent days. Abrego is located in the region of Catatumbo, where militant and paramilitary groups widely operate.

Judge orders arrest of ELN leaders over kidnapping in Arauca

A judge in the north-eastern department of Arauca has ordered the arrest of nine members of the National Liberation Army (ELN). Prosecutors said that the arrest warrant includes five members of the ELN's Central Command (COCE) who are accused of kidnapping a soldier in Saravena. Several COCE members are believed to be in Cuba. In June, the Colombian government reiterated calls on Cuba to extradite them over their involvement in a bomb attack against a police academy in Bogota.

Colombia to enter new coronavirus phase in September

Colombia is set to enter a new phase in the battle against coronavirus as the government plans to lift a number of restrictions to reopen the economy. For several months, Colombia has imposed one of the most stringent measures in Latin America. President Ivan Duque said that from September the country will end its mandatory quarantine and will instead rely on a so-called 'selective' approach, which will focus on social distancing and other guidelines. Colombia has reported 550,000 coronavirus cases - a third being reported in Bogota - and nearly 18,000 deaths.

Colombia makes massive cocaine bust off Tumaco, Narino

More than a tonne of cocaine has been seized when Colombian authorities intercepted narco-submarines off the country's south-western coast. In a joint operation, the vessel was intercepted several nautical miles from the town of Tumaco, Narino. Authorities claim that it belonged to a dissident front of the FARC. Reports indicate that the drugs were expected to be delivered to the Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) in the Mexican port of Costa Careyes, Jalisco state.

Three gunned down in Venecia, Antioquia

Three people have been killed in a violent incident reported in the north-western department of Antioquia. Local authorities confirmed that the incident happened in the town of Venecia, located several kilometres south of Medellin. Authorities are still investigating the incident. The killing happened as Colombia also faced a number of violent incidents in Cauca, Narino and Arauca.

Scores killed in separate armed incidents across Colombia

At least 17 people have died in Colombia after three separate incidents were reported across the country. In the south-western departments of Narino, six people were killed in the city of Tumaco. In neighbouring Cauca, another six died in El Tambo. Another incident in the north-eastern department of Arauca led to the deaths of five people. Violence in rural areas in Colombia has intensified due to the coronavirus pandemic. In some areas, crime is mainly fueled by the presence of paramilitary groups, drug-trafficking and dissident members of the FARC.

ELN releases three hostages in Norte de Santander

Three civilians kidnapped by the National Liberation Army (ELN) have been released in Norte de Santander. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the operation happened in the town of Tibu, located in the restive region of Catatumbo. According to the ICRC, the organisation has already coordinated 10 operations in 2020, leading to the release of 21 people. The ICRC and other groups are often intermediaries in the release of hostages. In a bid to resume peace talks with the government, the ELN has released several hostages. President Ivan Duque said that he will not resume talks until the ELN ceases kidnapping operations in Colombia.

Alvaro Uribe's lawyers request case transference from Supreme Court

Former President Alvaro Uribe's lawyers have asked for his witness tampering case to be transferred to the Attorney General's Office. The request came after Uribe resigned from his seat in the Senate. Currently, the case is being handled by the Supreme Court, which deals with corruption cases involving politicians. Uribe is accused of witness tampering involving a right-wing paramilitary member. The case involves a dispute with a leftist lawmaker. Uribe is currently under house arrest.

Alvaro Uribe resigns as senator amid witness tampering probe

Former President Alvaro Uribe has resigned from his role as a senator as he's investigated as part of a witness tampering case. Uribe, considered one of the most influential politicians in Colombia, was put under house arrest as part of the probe. He had already claimed that the investigations are politically motivated. The case dates back to 2012 when Uribe accused an opposition senator, Ivan Cepeda, of tampering with witnesses in a case which linked Uribe to right-wing paramilitary groups. Investigations were reopened in 2018 after Uribe himself was accused of witness tampering.

Eight people shot dead at house party, Narino

Eight people have been shot dead at a house party in the south-western province of Narino. Four assailants stormed a house in Samaniego on Saturday and opened fire, killing seven men and one woman. The government has offered a $53,000 reward for information about the killing.

Five youngsters killed in eastern Cali, Cauca

At least five youngsters were killed when gunmen opened fire in eastern Cali, Cauca. Reports show that the incident happened in the Llano Grande neighbourhood. Family members of the victims said that they had left their homes on Tuesday and never returned. Investigations have been launched to assess who is responsible for the incident. Criminality has been on the rise in some low-income areas in south-western Colombia. According to official data, nearly 600 people were murdered in Cali this year.

Former AUC leader released after serving sentence in the US

An infamous Colombian paramilitary leader has been released in the US after serving a 12-year sentence. Salvatore Mancuso was the leader of the notorious right-wing paramilitary group United Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), which was dismantled as part a peace deal back in 2003. At the time, he and several other paramilitary leaders were sent to be trialled in the US. Initially, Colombia requested his extradition to face other charges but demands for his extradition were recently withdrawn after a judge said that the US sentence met the terms of the deal. However, President Ivan Duque continues to call for his return to Colombia. Rights groups and victims' families are sceptical over the president's intentions. Mancuso could be extradited to Italy, where he is a dual national - his extradition to Italy could lead to tensions between the US and Colombia.

AG sanctions five soldiers for killing former FARC guerrilla in 2019

Five soldiers that have been charged for killing a former guerilla have been the target of additional disciplinary actions. According to the Attorney General's office, the suspects are now banned from holding public office for the next 20 years. Dimar Torres was killed back in mid-2019 in Norte de Santander. Torres was a demobilised member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). As part of the investigations, the soldiers are accused of hiding his body. Since the FARC peace deal was reached in 2016, the UN estimated that more than 200 guerillas were killed.

CNE investigates campaign financing of President Ivan Duque

The National Electoral Council (CNE) has opened an investigation into President Ivan Duque for alleged financial irregularities in his presidential campaign. President Duque's campaign manager Luis Guillermo Echeverry and the director of the ruling Democratic Centre (CD), Nubia Martinez, are also included in the investigations. The case unfolded after an audio file revealed that a Venezuelan businessman contributed $300k to his presidential campaign - the constitution forbids foreign nationals from contributing financially to presidential campaigns. Martinez denied the allegations. The case comes as another political blow for the conservative CD as former President Alvaro Uribe is currently being investigated over allegations of witness tampering.

Four miners trapped after landslide in Sogamoso, Boyaca

The emergency services were deployed to the Rio Chiquito Mine in Boyaca after four miners got trapped in a landslide. The incident happened on Friday in the town of Sogamoso. Local officials said that the mine had no license to operate. El Espectador reported on Monday that rescuers have already reached halfway to the area where the miners are believed to be stranded. Mining accidents in Colombia are frequent, especially in unlicensed and illegal mines in isolated areas.

Court orders compensation to opposition leader targeted in espionage plot

A court in Colombia has ordered that the government pay significant compensation to opposition leader Gustavo Petro after he and his family were targeted in state espionage. Petro ran for president in 2018 but lost the vote to Ivan Duque. The 'Las Chuzadas' case dates back to the government of former President Alvaro Uribe, where government institutions - especially the defunct Security Administrative Department (DAS) - were accused of spying on opposition leaders and the media. This is the latest blow impacting Uribe, who is currently involved in another judicial case.

Former President Uribe tests positive for coronavirus

Former President Alvaro Uribe has tested positive for coronavirus just a day after being placed under house arrest. Uribe is accused of witness tampering and procedural fraud in a case involving a right-wing paramilitary group and a leftist senator. A final decision on Uribe's case is set to be held on Thursday. Members of his Democratic Centre (CD) said that the trial is politically motivated. Uribe's case was considered one of the highest-level political probes in recent history.

Alvaro Uribe put under house arrest amid Supeme Court probe

Former President Alvaro Uribe has been put under house arrest as the Supreme Court investigates a controversial case of witness tampering and fraud. The court decision comes after conclusions were reached that enough evidence was found over alleged collusion with members of the paramilitary to testify in his favour. The case began after the opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda accused Uribe of links to paramilitary groups. Another court session is still scheduled for Thursday morning. Uribe is one of the most influential politicians in Colombia. He was president at the height of the  FARC insurgency and currently serves as a senator for the ruling Democratic Centre (CD).

Former President Uribe testifies in witness tampering case

Former President Alvaro Uribe has testified before the Supreme Court in a high-profile political case in which he is accused of witness tampering. Uribe is the first Colombian former president to testify before the Supreme Court. The case dates back to 2012 when Uribe accused the opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda of tampering with witnesses in a case that linked Uribe to paramilitary groups. However, the investigations were reopened in 2018 after Uribe himself was accused of witness tampering. The court has not yet reached a decision, instead, it moved the verdict to Thursday. Uribe, who is currently a senator, is considered a close political ally to President Ivan Duque.

Coronavirus deaths in Colombia hit 11,000

Coronavirus deaths in Colombia have reached 11,000 as the number of cases continues to face a drastic increase. According to the health ministry, more than 10,000 cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to nearly 330,000. Data shows that most cases in Colombia are reported in Bogota, while outside of the capital, a high number has been reported in Valle del Cauca and in the northern department of Atlantico. Although some parts of the economy are resuming, President Ivan Duque has extended partial lockdowns in some critical areas in Colombia. In addition to the increasing number of deaths, the coronavirus pandemic has caused a major economic impact.

President Duque extends coronavirus lockdown until 30 August

Colombia's government has announced the extension of the coronavirus lockdown until at least 30 August. In a daily press briefing, President Ivan Duque said that although the lockdown measures will remain in place, the government will continue to work to reopen the country's economy. The decision comes as Colombia reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases in less than 24 hours. In total, the country has reported 267,000 cases, including more than 9,000 deaths.

Colombia labeled as deadliest country for land rights activists in 2019

Colombia has been rated as the deadliest county in the world for land rights activists in 2019. A report from Global Witness reported that 64 land rights activists were killed in Colombia last year, a significant increase when compared with 2018, where 25 were killed. Global Witness said that the death of land rights activists in Colombia represents nearly one-third of the global death toll. The south-western department of Cauca reported 24 deaths. Since the peace deal was agreed with the FARC, rights groups have engaged in crop substitution programmes and they have been systematically targeted by militant and paramilitary groups.

Councilman's family killed in armed raid in Cordoba

Three people from the same family have been killed during an armed raid in Cordoba, northern Colombia. El Espectador reported that the incident happened in the rural area of San Juan de Ure. Reports indicate that the victims were related to a local councilman. A local social group said that the attack could be linked to a paramilitary formation known as 'Los Caparros', which has already threatened communities in the Bajo Cauca region. An 18-year-old girl was kidnapped and later found on a road near La Cabana. According to the government, there are more than 450 members of Los Caparros. The group is often engaged in kidnapping, drug-trafficking and illegal mining.

Investigations launched over mysterious death of UN observer

The Colombian authorities are investigating the mysterious death of an Italian national who worked as a UN observer in southern Colombia. Mario Paciolla was found dead earlier this month in the town of San Vicente del Caguan. Investigations were launched after Paciolla's family disputed allegations that he killed himself at his home. The Guardian reported that Paciolla also worked as an investigative journalist. Italy's Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said that he is working with the Colombian government to find out the truth behind Paciolla's death. San Vicente del Caguan is located in the southern department of Caqueta, where militant groups and dissidents operate.

Life sentence for child abusers incorporated in Colombian law

Life sentences for those charged with killing and raping children has been incorporated into Colombian law. Last year, Congress approved the constitutional reforms on tougher sentences on those involved in crimes against minors. This was one of the main campaign promises of President Ivan Duque. The new law replaces a maximum sentence of 30 years for the abuse of minors and 60 years for those who kill children and teenagers. The law will only be imposed in exceptional circumstances, while those sentenced to life may have their sentence reviewed after 25 years in prison.

Eleven soldiers killed in military aircraft crash in Guaviare

At least 11 soldiers have died after a military helicopter crashed in the south-eastern department of Guaviare. Colombia's Army said that the UH-60 Black Hawk crashed during an operation against dissident FARC militants in the areas near the Inirida river. Reports indicate that six soldiers were injured. FARC dissident fronts are known to widely operate in Guaviare and across isolated jungle areas in south-eastern Colombia.

Several killed in violent incident near Cucuta, Norte de Santander

At least six people have died during a violent incident in the north-eastern department of Norte de Santander. According to the People's Ombudsman, the victims were killed in the rural area of Cucuta, near the Venezuelan border. It is still unclear who is behind the incident, but a mission of the Organisation of American States (OAS) in Colombia has accused an illegal armed group of involvement. Areas located on the Venezuelan border are often linked to territorial disputes between criminal and insurgent groups to control migrant smuggling and drug-trafficking operations.

Venezuela accused of detaining Colombians delivering aid near the border

Colombia has accused Venezuela of detaining three people who were delivering aid to isolated indigenous communities near the Venezuelan border. Colombia's foreign ministry has claimed that those detained were travelling on the Rio Negro between San Felipe and Puerto Colombia. It said that they were transporting aid from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). Colombia's military said that Venezuelan soldiers intercepted the vessel and took its crew to the Venezuelan town of Maroa. This is the latest episode of a diplomatic fallout between Colombia and Venezuela. Frequently, both countries trade accusations of illegal military incursions in the shared border.

Several killed as adverse weather batters Colombia

Nearly a dozen people have been killed and several others injured after landslides and flooding hit most departments across Colombia. Media reports show that nearly 6,000 families have been affected as roads and several residences were damaged. Colombia's Met Institute (IDEAM) has issued weather alerts to most areas in western Colombia, especially in Antioquia.

Government advances plan to resume aerial fumigation of illicit crops

Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has said that the government is fulfilling the requirements for aerial fumigation of illicit crops in Colombia. The government claims that the policy is key to destroying coca crops. Aerial fumigation was banned in Colombia in 2015 after claims that the practice caused health hazards to the local population and damaged the environment. The decision to resume aerial fumigation was made last year and comes as cocaine production in Colombia reported a slight increase when compared with 2019.

Indigenous leader gunned down in Tumaco, Narino

An indigenous leader has been gunned down near the coastal town of Tumaco, Narino. Local media reported that Rodrigo Salazar was brutally murdered in the area of Llorente. Salazar was also part of the local indigenous guard. The High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia, Nancy Gutierrez, said that 38 indigenous and human rights leaders were killed in Colombia this year - most of them during the coronavirus pandemic. In total, 49 killings are still being investigated.

Death toll in fuel tanker explosion reaches 21

Colombian authorities have said that the death toll from the fuel tankers explosion earlier this week has increased to 21. Initially, seven people died and dozens were injured in the accident on a road near Barranquilla. A number of people headed to the scene to collect fuel from the vehicle before it exploded. Local health officials said that at least a dozen people were transferred to intensive care units.

Cuba to remain as guarantor of the FARC peace deal

Deputy Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra has said that Cuba will remain as the guarantor of the peace deal between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Sierra's announcement comes despite increasing tensions between Cuba and Colombia over talks involving the National Liberation Army (ELN). In May, Cuba was added to a list of the US State Department for aiding ELN and FARC dissidents. Negotiations between the Colombian government and the ELN collapsed after the 2019 police academy bombing in Bogota.

Government rejects ELN calls for 90-day ceasefire

Colombia's government has rejected calls from the National Liberation Army (ELN) to reach a bilateral ceasefire in a bid to resume peace talks. The group has proposed to the government the introduction of a 90-day truce. Peace Commissioner Miguel Ceballos said that the government is rejecting the ELN's offer as it does not include the end of criminal activities, which has been a key condition for the negotiations to be resumed. In recent weeks, the ELN has released a number of hostages but also launched several attacks in some rural areas. 

Strong 5.3-magnitude earthquake strikes Santander

A powerful 5.3-magnitude earthquake has been reported in the northern department of Santander. Recent data from the Colombian Geological Service (CGS) shows that the quake struck at 22:22 local time on Wednesday at a depth of 149km. Its epicentre was located near the town of Zapatoca and it was followed by a number of low-scale aftershocks. No damage or casualties have been reported so far.

Heavy rainfall affects thousands across Colombia

Thousands of people have been affected as intense rainfall continues to affect Colombia. In the central department of Meta, hundreds of families across eight municipalities were affected, forcing more than 100 of them to be evacuated. Meanwhile, in the southern department of Putumayo, more than 2,300 families were also affected when landslides and flooding hit the region. Incidents were also reported in the northern departments of Arauca, Choco and Antioquia. Rural areas located near rivers and mountains are especially vulnerable during intense periods of rain.

Government extends nationwide lockdown to 1 August

Colombia's government has extended the nationwide lockdown for two weeks following a rise in coronavirus cases and deaths. The measures, which have been in place since March, will now last until at least 1 August. "Considering we have cities where the rate of cases has accelerated and grown, as well as the mortality rate, we have continued to work on preserving the mandatory preventive isolation as the general concept," said President Ivan Duque on Tuesday. There have been more than 120,000 confirmed cases and 4,452 deaths in Colombia.

Several killed in fuel tanker explosion, Magdalena

At least seven people have been killed after a fuel tanker exploded in the northern department of Magdalena. Local media reported that the vehicle overturned in the Tasajeras area, which is located on the Ruta Nacional 90, the main road between Barranquilla and Cienaga. More than 50 people were injured when they gathered around the vehicle to collect fuel.

Dozens of ELN members demobilise in Cauca

Colombia's government claims that 27 members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) have demobilised in recent weeks. In a statement, the high commissioner for peace, Miguel Ceballos, said that they were members of the 'Jose Maria Becerra' front that operated in the south-western department of Cauca. In total, 47 ELN members have demobilised in recent weeks. In April, President Ivan Duque signed legislation aimed at facilitating the demobilisation of several criminal groups in Colombia. Official talks with the ELN have been suspended since President Duque took office. Since the demobilisation of the FARC, the group has become the largest guerrilla force in Colombia.

Investigations opened on another sexual abuse case involving the military

A second case of sexual abuse involving the military has been put under investigation. In a statement, the Colombian military confirmed that the alleged sexual abuse happened against a minor of the nukak maku ethnic group based in San Juan del Guaviare, southern Colombia. The incident dates back to September. In just over a week, two cases of sexual abuse against minors have implicated members of the military in Colombia. Earlier this month, a probe was opened on a case where a 12-year-old girl living in Pueblo Rico, Risaralda, was attacked.

First suspected coronavirus death in Colombia reported in mid-February

Colombia's National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) has confirmed that the first suspected coronavirus death in the country happened in mid-February. DANE's report puts the first death in Colombia more than a month earlier than previously thought. Officially, the first coronavirus death was confirmed on 21 March. It involved a taxi driver from Cartagena. According to DANE, 94 suspected coronavirus deaths were reported in the first three months of 2020.

Massive black out hits Colombia's Caribbean coast

Several cities in northern Colombia have faced a massive blackout. Local energy provider XM said in a statement that the blackout struck at 14:27 on Wednesday and affected several areas, including Cartagena, Santa Marta and Barranquilla. Towns in Atlantico, Bolivar, Magdalena, Cesar and La Guajira were also affected. Major concerns have been drawn over the power supply to hospitals, which are mainly treating coronavirus patients. Local authorities asked the government to reinforce energy infrastructure in the area to avoid a collapse of the health system. Power was fully restored two hours later. Energy providers are still investigating what caused the blackout.

Soldiers investigated for abusing minor in Risaralda

Prosecutors have opened an investigation into several soldiers accused of sexually abusing an indigenous girl in Risaralda, western Colombia. Reports suggest that at least seven soldiers from a 30-member army squad are being targeted in the investigations. The victim is a 12-year-old girl living in Pueblo Rico. Members of the military in Colombia have been accused of a number of rights violations during military operations in some rural areas in the country. President Ivan Duque said that such behaviour of the military against minors will not be tolerated.

President Duque orders extension of lockdown measures

President Ivan Duque has extended the mandatory quarantine measures in Colombia until 15 July. In a televised speech, he said that all measures imposed across the country will be enforced until at least 30 June. They include the compulsory use of face masks in public spaces and adherence to social distancing. People have been asked to remain at home and only leave to shop for essentials. More than 73,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Colombia, including some 2,400 deaths. Lockdown measures in Colombia have been in place since late March.

US government offers reward for capture of FARC dissident leaders

The US State Department has offered a $10m reward for information leading to the arrest of two dissident leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Ivan Marquez and Jesus Santrich of involvement with drug-trafficking and for abandoning the peace agreement reached with the Colombian government. Both men were charged in the US back in March for narco-terrorism, corruption and other crimes. Marquez briefly held a seat as a senator but he was removed in October. Months later, he and Santrich featured in a video announcing their return to the armed struggle.

ELN releases kidnapped soldier in Arauca

A Colombian soldier kidnapped earlier this month in Arauca has been released. AP reported that Nubia Correa, who was taken by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN), was handed over to a Red Cross team. Last week, the ELN published Correa's proof-of-life video. Correa is the tenth hostage to be released by the ELN so far this month. She was kidnapped in the rural town of Saravena. Since President Ivan Duque took office in 2018, he has ceased peace talks with the ELN until the guerrilla group releases all of its hostages. In total, 19 have been released so far.

FARC dissidents threaten journalists in Putumayo

Colombia's Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) has claimed that five journalists were threatened by dissident fronts of the FARC based in the border department of Putumayo. FLIP said that the reporters were accused of links to the local government while covering how the authorities are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in the rural areas of the department. FARC dissidents operate in departments near the border with Ecuador, including the Oliver Sinisterra Front that kidnapped and killed three Ecuadorian journalists from 'El Comercio' in 2018.

Kidnapped foreign nationals released in military operation in Cauca

Two foreign nationals who were kidnapped in the rural area of Corinto, near Cali, have been released in a joint military operation. Media reports said that a Swiss national, Daniel Max Guggenheim, and Brazilian Jose Alburquerque Garcia were both freed. They were kidnapped while touring the Pacific region of Cauca. They claimed to have been moved to nearly a dozen different locations while in captivity. Authorities said that a ransom of 30m pesos ($112k) was requested for their release. Dissidents of the FARC front Dagoberto Ramos are accused of orchestrating the kidnaps. FARC dissidents and other criminal groups in Colombia are still engaged in kidnapping.

Six soldiers killed in armed attack in Caqueta

At least six soldiers have been killed and eight others injured in an armed attack in the rural area of San Juan de Lozada, Caqueta. El Espectador reported that the attack happened at the border between Caqueta and Meta, where a major military operation was taking place. Members of the Omega Joint Task Force headed to the scene to detain a suspect known as Alvaro Boyaco, who is a dissident member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Meta Governor Juan Zuluaga confirmed that the area is known for the presence of FARC dissidents led by Gentil Duarte.

Medellin cartel's Carlos Lehder transferred to Germany

The co-founder of the infamous Medellin Cartel, Carlos Lehder Rivas, has been transferred to Germany. Lehder was a close associate of Pablo Escobar at the height of the cartel's operations in the 1980s. He was extradited to the US back in 1987 after being reportedly betrayed by Escobar. He was sentenced to serve more than 130 years in prison and later reached a plea bargain deal to help dismantle some drug-trafficking operations between Colombia and the US. He had also contributed to a case against Panamanian General Manuel Noriega. According to Der Spiegel, Lehder has already arrived in Frankfurt on a flight from New York. He is expected to be taken to a care home.

Coronavirus cases in Colombia hit 50,000

Coronavirus cases in Colombia have surpassed 50,000 after over 2,000 new cases were confirmed on Sunday. President Ivan Duque has already announced plans to reopen the economy, while the country's nationwide lockdown will remain in place until at least 1 July. Special restrictions have recently been imposed in the capital, Bogota. Alongside Brazil, Peru and Ecuador, Colombia has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Latin America, and the death toll currently sits around 1,600. Furthermore, lockdown measures in the country have fuelled violence in some areas where paramilitary groups and militants operate.

ELN release six hostages in Norte de Santander

Six hostages held by the National Liberation Army (ELN) have been released. In a statement, the Internation Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed that the hostages were released in the rural area of Teorama, Norte de Santander. Reuters reported that most of the hostages were police officers, who were held for more than two months. Earlier in the week, the ELN had also released two workers of an oil company based in Arauca. Kidnappings are one of the main barriers preventing the resumption of peace talks with the government. The ELN has recently released footage of Nubia Lopez, a soldier kidnapped last week in Saravena, Arauca.

VP Ramirez confirms brother's drug-trafficking sentence in the US

Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez has confirmed that her brother has been sentenced for drug-trafficking in the US. Ramirez's admission came after reports that she paid for his bail. Bernardo Ramirez Blanco was arrested in Miami back in 1997 for receiving a heroin shipment. La Nueva Prensa published the report, which Ramirez had not made public for the last 20 years. She denied allegations that she paid the bail and claimed that she paid a judicial guarantee so that he could go to court.

FARC request UN assistance amid killing of demobilised guerrillas

The Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) has requested a meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, to discuss the death of demobilised FARC militants in Colombia. FARC intends to request international assistance to address the issue. It asks the UN to monitor the situation and deliver reports to the UN Secretary-General. According to reports, since the FARC peace deal was signed in 2016, more than 200 demobilised guerrillas were killed. The party has also condemned the forced displacement of families.

Government limits transit of migrant buses to border areas with Venezuela

The Colombian authorities have limited the transit of buses transporting Venezuelan migrants to the border after Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro announced restrictions on migrant crossings. Thousands of migrants are currently stranded in the departments of Norte de Santander and Arauca. Several migrant camps are also set in other cities, including Bogota, Medellin and Cali.

Police seize massive drug haul in the port of Buenaventura

The Colombian authorities have made a massive seizure of cocaine in the Pacific port of Buenaventura. According to the head of the police's counter-narcotics unit, the drugs were hidden in a shipment of plastic and were destined for Turkey. This is thought to be the largest cocaine seizure so far this year. Buenaventura is a major drug-trafficking hub due to its strategic location in the Pacific. As the town increases its influence, several criminal groups often clash to control territory around the port.

FARC party condemns killing of two minors in Ituango, Antioquia

The Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) has condemned the killing of two minors in the north-western department of Antioquia. FARC said that the victims were from a guerilla rehabilitation zone in the rural area of Santa Lucia, Ituango. According to the party, a 15-year-old son of a demobilised guerrilla was kidnapped and killed. Another 17-year-old was also taken from a bus. Military sources said that the killings are attributed to the Clan del Golfo, a paramilitary group that operates in the region. The head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia condemned the incident and raised concerns over the security situation in Ituango, especially in Santa Lucia.

Migrant crossings in Venezuela to face restrictions

Migrant crossings between Colombia and Venezuela will be restricted due to the high influx of returnees heading to Venezuela amid the coronavirus crisis. Migracion Colombia said that crossings on the Simon Bolivar bridge in Norte de Santander and on the Jose Antonio Paez bridge in Arauca will be limited. Thousands of people are currently stranded at the border after attempting to return to Venezuela, while officials attempt to set up a humanitarian corridor to facilitate the process. Official data shows that for the first time since the Venezuelan political crisis broke out, the number of Venezuelan migrants arriving in Colombia has drastically decreased.

Bomb attacks hit Transandino Pipeline in Narino

The Transandino Pipeline in the south-eastern department of Narino has been the target of two bomb attacks leading to an oil spillage on the Guiza River. According to the state-owned Ecopetrol, the second explosion damaged the pipeline, affecting several areas around Nembi. It said that the pipeline was not actively pumping oil at the time of the attack. According to official data, at least 27 attacks against the Transandino Pipeline were carried out so far this year. Paramilitary groups and members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) are usually behind the attacks.

US troops to be deployed as part of anti-drugs cooperation

US troops are set to be deployed to Colombia ahead of the launch of the Security Assistance Force (SFAB) in June. According to the US Southern Command, 45 US soldiers will be initially stationed in Colombia as part of joint operation to tackle drug-trafficking in Colombia and the Caribbean. Opposition senators said that the deployment of US troops in Colombia is unconstitutional, while questions have been raised for President Ivan Duque. Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said that the SFAB will not take an active part in military operations. For decades, the US is one of the major allies of Colombia in operations to curb drug-trafficking.

Coronavirus quarantine extended until 1 July

Colombia's ministry of interior has announced the extension of the coronavirus lockdown in the country until at least 01 July. As the government plans to gradually reopen the economy and allow some operations to resume, the authorities are still attempting to curb the quick spread of the coronavirus. Colombia's nationwide quarantine was first introduced in late-March and is the fifth time that the measure has been extended. Colombia has reported more than 8,500 coronavirus cases so far, including more than 200 deaths. Flights to and from Colombia are still suspended.

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Alto Baudo, Choco

More than 1,300 people have been displaced following clashes in the north-western department of Choco. According to reports, people living in the rural areas of Alto Baudo were forced to leave their homes due to clashes between rival armed groups. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 10,000 people were displaced in the first three months of 2020. Clashes involving rival militant and paramilitary groups often lead to displacements in Colombia, mainly affecting the afro-Colombian and indigenous population.

AG issues arrest warrants against mayors linked to coronavirus corruption

Colombia's Attorney General has issued arrest warrants for several mayors in Colombia for alleged corruption during the coronavirus pandemic. Hundreds of investigations have already been launched in the country across 26 territories and more than 270 towns. The charges include the purchase of overpriced medical equipment and food packages, along with the attribution of public contracts in exchange for political favours involving local government and the military.

International flights banned until 31 August

Colombia's government has announced that international passenger flights into the country will be banned until 31 August. Transport Minister Angela Maria Orozco told Blu Radio that the borders will also remain shut until the same date. Colombia has been enforcing strict measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country. The airline industry in Colombia has suffered a major blow, especially national carrier Avianca, which has filed for bankruptcy at a US court. Colombia has confirmed more than 17,000 coronavirus cases so far, including over 600 deaths.

Coronavirus lockdown extended until 31 May

President Ivan Duque has announced the extension of the coronavirus lockdown in Colombia until at least 31 May. The government has already started to gradually relax some restrictions to lift the current economic shutdown. Lockdown measures are enforced in Colombia since late-March. Colombia has so far confirmed more than 17,000 coronavirus cases, including over 600 deaths.

ELN commander killed in military bombing in Bolivar

Colombia's ministry of defence said that a military bombing has killed a commander of the National Liberation Army (ELN). Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said that the operation happened in the rural town of Montecristo, located in the northern department of Bolivar. According to reports, the leader killed was alias 'Mocho Tierra', who is accused of planning the 1999 hijack of an Avianca plane covering the route between Bucaramanga and Bogota. Reports suggest that he led three fronts of the ELN in Bolivar and Antioquia. The operation happened weeks after the ELN announced the end of a unilateral ceasefire called amid the coronavirus pandemic in Colombia.

Cuba and Venezuela added to US list for aiding ELN and FARC

The US Department of State has certified Venezuela and Cuba for failing to assist the US in its global counter-terrorism effort during 2019. According to a statement, both countries have been accused of cooperating with the National Liberation Army (ELN). Venezuela is further claimed to harbour dissident members of the FARC, while Cuba has failed to extradite ELN leaders linked to the police academy bombing in Bogota last year. Both are accused of not cooperating with the US in supporting the Colombian government address the terrorist threat after the FARC peace deal.

Prosecutors request US extradition of former paramilitary chief

Colombian prosecutors have requested that the US extradite the former paramilitary chief Salvador Mancuso, who is currently serving a drug-trafficking sentence in the US. EFE reported that the request was made in mid-April. It called on the US government to extradite Mancuso to be charged in Colombia for crimes committed when he served as the head of the Autodedensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). Mancuso is also known as 'El Mono'. His AUC was a right-wing paramilitary group that demobilised back in 2006.

Military deployed to monitor borders with Peru and Brazil

The government has enhanced security measures and checks along the Peruvian and Brazilian borders to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country. As Peru and Brazil are among the countries in South America with the highest number of cases, several bordering countries have already reinforced their bordering areas. Leticia, located just opposite to the Brazilian town of Tabatinga, is considered the town with the highest rate of infections in Colombia. President Ivan Duque said that the military will be deployed along the entire border to control the transit of people. Most areas that Colombia borders with Peru and Brazil are remote and covered in heavy jungle. Colombia has so far confirmed more than 12,000 coronavirus cases, including 500 deaths.

Dozens of inmates test positive for coronavirus in Leticia, Amazonas

At least 85 inmates detained in the Amazon city of Leticia have tested positive for coronavirus. According to the regional health secretary, nearly 200 cases have already been confirmed in the city, while in total more than 700 were confirmed in the department of Amazonas. Colombian authorities are currently struggling to deal with the coronavirus in overcrowded prisons. Concerns had already been raised after an outbreak of coronavirus was reported at a prison in Villavicencio.

Avianca files for bankruptcy protection at a US court

Avianca has filed for bankruptcy protection at a US court after it suffered major financial losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the airline, it has suffered losses of more than 80 percent since it was forced to shut operations in mid-March. In a report from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Avianca Holdings SA announced "the initiation of voluntary reorganization proceedings under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code". In a statement, the company said that "the filing was necessitated by the unforeseeable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic". Avianca is among several international airlines which are financially struggling due to the current coronavirus crisis. A number of airlines have already announced mass layoffs.

FARC member gunned down in Bello, Antioquia

A member of the Common Revolutionary Alternative Force (FARC) has been killed near Medellin, Antioquia. According to the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Wilder Marin Alarcon was gunned down in the city of Bello last week. According to the UN, more than 20 people linked to the reincorporation process of former FARC militants were killed in Colombia this year. The UN also raised concerns over the violence in some areas amid the coronavirus state of emergency. 

President Duque signs second state of emergency

President Ivan Duque has signed a second state of emergency to assist small businesses that are facing economic distress. In addition to a nationwide lockdown that has been imposed until at least 25 May, the government has announced measures that will allow President Duque to sign decrees without parliamentary authorisation. Both workers and businesses are expected to benefit from this new support, which comes in addition to an initial four-billion-dollar grant to assist social programmes. From Monday, some activities will be allowed to resume across Colombia.

Colombia nears 9,000 coronavirus cases

Colombia has recorded almost 9,000 coronavirus cases and President Ivan Duque has extended the state of emergency until 25 May. According to the health ministry, more than 300 new cases were confirmed in the last 24 hours. Most cases have been confirmed in Bogota, while a considerable number of cases were also confirmed in the departments of Valle del Cauca, Meta, Atlantico, Antioquia and Bolivar. The government has already announced plans to ease some lockdown restrictions to reopen economy in some 900 municipalities designated coronavirus-free.

President Duque extends coronavirus quarantine until 25 May

President Ivan Duque has announced that the coronavirus quarantine in Colombia will be extended until at least 25 May. As some coronavirus restrictions are being lifted, the government has said that the two-week extension will be paramount to curb the spread of the virus. From 11 May, some industrial sectors in Colombia will be allowed to resume operations, while some areas not heavily affected by the virus will be allowed to lift the lockdown. Like other countries, Colombia economy has taken a significant hit, particularly impacting the poorest workers in the country. Colombia has confirmed more than 8,600 coronavirus cases so far, including nearly 400 deaths.

Military officials dismissed for links to spy network

Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has announced the dismissal of 11 military officials implicated in a major scandal linked to espionage on civilians. Investigations started in January when General Nicacio de Jesus Martinez resigned after being accused of leading an espionage network on journalists, magistrates, syndicalists and politicians. Trujillo said that investigations on the matter are still ongoing. He told Reuters that the intelligence sector is under the total control of the military. Trujillo added that the reports published on the Semana magazine mainly concern some individuals within the intelligence community and are not part standard practices of the military. The same report alleges that the military receives funds from foreign intelligence agencies.

Police foils prison break attempt in Villavicencio

Police have thwarted a prison break attempt after intercepting inmates who dug a tunnel in a penitentiary in Villavicencio. According to reports, a number of makeshift weapons that were intended to be used for future rebellions were also seized. The prison in Villavicencio has already confirmed more than 300 coronavirus cases. Tensions within prisons in Colombia and Latin America remain high as prisoners and their family members demand better sanitary conditions. Some governments have sent low-level criminals home to ease the pressure on the system.

Local community leader gunned down in Cauca

A local community leader has been shot dead alongside his family in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Local authorities confirmed that Alvaro Narvaez died when gunmen raided his home in the rural area of Mercaderes. Among the victims are his wife, son and 15-year-old granddaughter. Last week, UN officials in Colombia raised concerns over the increasing number of social and community leaders killed during the coronavirus crisis in Colombia.

Scores of ELN members surrender after clashes in Cauca

At least 20 members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) have voluntarily surrendered after clashes with the military in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo claimed that ELN militants turned themselves in as part of a government programme to promote demobilisation. He added that the militants were members of the Jose Maria Becerra Front based in the town of El Tambo. The ELN has recently announced the end of its unilateral ceasefire and accused the government of President Ivan Duque of being unwilling to negotiate.

President Duque signs decree to push for paramilitary demobilisation

President Ivan Duque has signed a decree that will allow members of armed groups to voluntarily surrender and be reintroduced into civilian life. Colombia's High Commissioner for Peace Miguel Ceballos said that this is a new opportunity for groups to demobilise and be subject to justice. Among those included in the decree are dissident fronts of the FARC, the Clan del Golfo, Los Pelusos, Los Caparros and the People's Liberation Army (EPL). Ceballos added that members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) also have some options available to demobilise. All of those paramilitary groups are responsible for most of the violence in some rural areas across Colombia.

Heavy rainfall triggers landslides and flooding across Colombia

Heavy rainfall has triggered flooding and landslides across several locations in the departments of Antioquia and Cauca. Local media reported that at least three people have died when inclement weather damaged houses in Argelia, southern Cauca. Dozens of people were also forced to evacuate across Antioquia, where damage to several bridges was identified. Intense rainfall is forecast to persist in those regions, especially along the Colombian Pacific coast.

Armed groups displace dozens of families in Urrao, Antioquia

Dozens of indigenous families have been forced to move due to the presence and pressure of armed groups based in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. According to a local group, up to 70 families of the embera-eyabida ethnic group were forced to leave the town of Urrao. The Antioquia Indigenous Organisation (OAI) also raised concerns about the presence of armed groups in some indigenous areas, especially around the rural areas of Frontino, Murindo and Vigia del Fuerte. Rights groups have highlighted that the current coronavirus pandemic has highly affected vulnerable communities in Colombia, leading to further forced displacements and lockdowns.

ELN to resume operations in May

Members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) have announced the resumption of operations. In a statement, the group has said that they will end a current ceasefire on 1 May. The ELN launched a month-long ceasefire to allow relief efforts to be sent to some critical areas in Colombia while attempting to resume negotiations with the government. They have accused President Ivan Duque of not complying with the ceasefire and intensifying operations against the group. Negotiations between the government and the ELN have been suspended since President Duque took office in 2018. 

Amnesty granted to former FARC-linked IRA members

Colombia's war crime court has granted amnesty to three Irishmen accused of links to the Irish Revolutionary Army (IRA). Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan were detained in Bogota in 2001 after being accused out tutoring members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to make bombs. They were sentenced in 2004, but they had reportedly fled the country while on bail - those claims were denied by the Sinn Fein at the time. The amnesty was granted by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), created as part of the FARC peace deal.

Local campesino leader killed in Buenos Aires, Cauca

A local campesino leader has been killed in the south-western department of Cauca. Mario Chilueso Cruz was gunned down in the town of Buenos Aires. He was a local leader for small agricultural producers. Since the FARC peace deal was signed, dozens of social leaders and campesinos have been killed in Colombia. Social tensions also affect indigenous communities based on the region, where paramilitary and military groups often target small rural villages.

President Duque rules out resumption of international flights

President Ivan Duque has ruled out that international flights to Colombia will be resumed in the foreseeable future. Duque said in a Facebook Live session that although quarantine measures will be relaxed from next week, international flights will remain suspended while the government assesses the coronavirus emergency. Mandatory quarantine in Colombia will remain in place until 26 Abril, but restrictions will still be enforced until at least 30 May for those aged 70 or over. Nearly 4,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Colombia, including around 200 deaths.

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Bojaya, Choco

Hundreds of people have been displaced due to armed clashes reported in the rural area of Bojaya, Choco. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), clashes have been reported in the area since late-March. Several communities in Bojaya have been forced to move due to violence. In addition, organisations on the ground identified the increasing risks associated with anti-personnel landmines. Despite the coronavirus lockdown in some departments, militant and paramilitary groups are still engaged in clashes across Colombia.

Dozens stage protest to demand food and benefits in Bogota

Dozens of people have gathered in northern Bogota to pressure the local authorities to lift some coronavirus restrictions. Demonstrators blocked a major avenue in the capital to demand the donation of food and licenses to return to work. A nationwide lockdown is being enforced in Colombia, which will last until at least 27 April. Similar protests were also reported in southern Bogota. Although some grants and benefits have been given to low-income families, people have complained that they are not enough. Some countries in Latin America have reported protests due to economic shutdowns. Over 1,200 coronavirus cases have already been confirmed in Bogota.

Thousands of prisoners to be sent to home arrest due to coronavirus outbreak

More than 4,000 prisoners have been released as the Colombian government attempts to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country. Reports show that inmates will be out under home arrest for the next six months. Among those that will benefit from the measures are the elderly, pregnant women and prisoners that have already served at least 40 percent of their total sentence. Visits to prisons and other recreational benefits have already been suspended, leading to tensions and riots in some prisons. Rights groups have also raised concerns over sanitary conditions in cells.

ELN rejects nomination of two former leaders as peace negotiators

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has rejected the nomination of two of its former members as government-appointed negotiators. The group has said in a statement that they reject the nomination of alias 'Francisco Galan' and 'Fernando Torres' to lead talks between the government and the ELN. They claimed that both are not neutral and are already linked to the government of President Ivan Duque. Peace talks between the ELN and the Colombian government have stalled since the start of Juan Manuel Santos administration. Although the ELN has already launched unilateral ceasefires on multiple occasions, the government has continued to target its high-profile members.

FARC denounces attacks against demobilised guerrillas in Argelia, Cauca

Members of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) have claimed that paramilitary groups are incessantly raiding houses in south-eastern Colombia in search for demobilised guerrillas. According to reports, the party has said that incidents are concentrated in the town of Argelia, Cauca department. In a statement published on social media, it added that dozens of armed men are knocking door-to-door in search of demobilised FARC militants in the region. Colombia's Attorney General Fernando Carrillo has urged the security forces to head to Argelia. Nearly 200 demobilised FARC members were killed since the peace deal was signed in 2016.

Police officers kidnapped near Ocana, Norte de Santander

Two police officers have been kidnapped in the department of Norte de Santander. EFE reported that the incident took place in the town of Ocana, which is located in the restive Catatumbo region, near the Venezuelan border. According to reports, the victims were taken on the road between Teorama and Ocana. It is still unclear who is behind the attack. The kidnapping happened just as the National Liberation Army (ELN) - which operates alongside several other paramilitary groups in the region - announced a unilateral ceasefire amid the coronavirus crisis in Colombia.

ELN announces month-long ceasefire due to coronavirus

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has announced a month-long ceasefire as the country faces the coronavirus outbreak. In a communique, the group has said that the unilateral ceasefire will last during the entire month of April. Despite the announcement, the ELN also said that they may still defend their positions if necessary. The ELN is Colombia's largest active guerrilla group. Peace talks with the ELN are currently on hold. The group often declares unilateral ceasefires during special religious holidays and some other specific occasions. However, the government does not always recognise it and may still launch large-scale operations against the group.

President Duque announces nationwide coronavirus lockdown

President Ivan Duque has announced a nationwide lockdown as a new measure to address the coronavirus pandemic in the country. The measure will be implemented from Wednesday, 25 March, and is set to last until at least 13 April. Among the guidelines, it includes movement restrictions to both pedestrians and vehicles across the entire country. People have been ordered to remain indoors for the next 20 days. They will only be allowed to leave home on certain occasions. Public transport will still operate on a very limited schedule. Lockdowns and several other measures were also imposed on a local level. According to the ministry of health, more than 300 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Colombia - more than 100 of them are in Bogota.

Three social leaders killed amid nationwide coronavirus lockdown

Three social leaders have been killed amid the current coronavirus lockdown in Colombia. According to local NGO's, incidents were reported in a period of less than a week in the departments of Putumayo, Cauca and Santander. Reports indicate that the victims were deliberately targeted. Colombia's government has introduced a number of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including a nationwide quarantine. Since the peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was reached in 2016, several social leaders were killed across the country. Most of them are based in rural areas, which have become widely dominated by groups engaged in drug-trafficking.

Scores killed in violent prison riot in Bogota

At least 23 people have been killed after a violent prison riot broke out in southern Bogota. Reports show that the incident happened overnight on Sunday at the La Modelo penitentiary, one of the largest in the country. Justice Minister Margarita Cabello has said that the incident happened during a mass escape attempt. Reports of violence were also confirmed across several other prisons in Colombia. Prions riots have been recently reported in some Latin American countries amid the coronavirus pandemic. Incidents occur mainly due to demands of better sanitary conditions within prisons.

Three people kidnapped in Rio de Oro, Cesar

Three people of the same family have been kidnapped in the northern department of Cesar. According to the Colombian People's Ombudsman, the incident happened in the rural area of Rio de Oro. It added that the family were from the town of Ocana in Norte de Santander. Rio de Oro is located several kilometres north of Ocana on the National Highway 70. Ocana is part of a subregion known as Catatumbo, where militant and paramilitary groups widely operate.

All foreign nationals to be denied entry in Colombia

President Ivan Duque has announced that all foreign nationals will be denied entry in Colombia for at least 30 days. In new measures to address the spread of the coronavirus in the country, President Duque has already introduced drastic plans. Initially, foreign nationals were banned from crossing the border from neighbouring countries. The measure has been extended to flights and other modes of travel. He said in a televised address: “Until the weekend we will permit the entrance of Colombians coming from abroad and for a period of 30 days we will suspend the entrance of international travellers". The measure will come into effect from midnight on Monday.

Bogota's mayor to coordinate citywide coronavirus drill

Local authorities in Bogota are expected to launch a citywide drill to prepare for a future coronavirus response. According to reports, the drill will start midnight on Friday and last until Monday, 23 March. It mainly consists of ordering people to stay indoors and off the streets during this period. Those that disobey the orders could face fines. President Ivan Duque has already announced drastic measures across the country, which includes the closure of most Colombian border crossings. Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez has signed the decree on Wednesday. In addition to forbidding people to stay on the streets, it also orders the suspension of public transports.

President Duque orders border closure due to coronavirus

President Ivan Duque has announced the closure of the country's land borders and extreme restrictions on air travel. Colombia's borders with Venezuela were already closed due to diplomatic tensions. President Duque said that the borders with Brazil, Panama, Ecuador and Peru will remain closed until at least the end of May. Maritime borders will also be shut, but cargo ships will still be allowed entry. As part of the measures, only Colombian nationals and foreign residents will be allowed into the country. Colombia has already confirmed 24 cases of the coronavirus.

Landmine kills two indigenous children in Antioquia

Two minors have died after stepping into an anti-personal landmine in Antioquia, north-eastern Colombia. According to the Indigenous Organization in Antioquia (OIA), the incident happened in the Murri Pantano indigenous reserve in Frontino. Both victims were rushed to the hospital but succumbed their wounds moments later. Last year, the OIA had raised concerns over the number of landmines in several communities in Antioquia, including Frontino, Dabeiba and Murindo. Landmines in Colombia are often related to the country's past conflict and active armed groups.

Demobilised FARC member killed in Coloso, Sucre

A former militant of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been gunned down in the northern department of Sucre. El Espectador reported that Edwin Barrios was shot dead in the town of Coloso. Reports indicate that armed criminals raided his home on Tuesday. The FARC political party has condemned the incident. It claimed that two gunmen were involved in the attack. Demobilised FARC militants, social leaders and rights defenders are often targeted in Colombia. According to the UN, more than 300 social leaders were killed in the country since the pace deal was signed in 2016.

Massive increase in the number of children crossing Panamanian border

UNICEF has confirmed that the number of children crossing the Tapon del Darien jungle has seen a massive increase. According to a recent report published on Tuesday, the number of children that had crossed the region this year increased to 4,000 from 522 reported last year. The Tapon de Darien is a deep jungle area that separates Panama and Colombia. It has become a major area of migrant smuggling from Colombia to Central America. According to the UN, migrants would cross the region to proceed with their journey towards Canada and the US. Last November, President Ivan Duque and his Panamanian counterpart met to strengthen border security in the region, which has been also widely used by criminals engaged in drug-trafficking.

Colombia and the US launch joint exercise along the Venezuelan border

Colombian authorities have launched a joint operation with the US military along the Venezuelan border. According to reports, the exercise is intended to prepare for humanitarian issues. EFE reported that the so-called 'Ejercicio Vita' will take place until 20 March across several communities in northern Colombia. Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has long accused the US and Colombia of attempting to remove him from office. Last year, the Venezuelan government refused to accept US-backed humanitarian aid. Departments in northern Colombia are the most affected by the high influx of migrants arriving from Venezuela. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Colombia has already received more than 1.4m migrants.

Several found dead after clashes break out near Cucuta

At least a dozen bodies have been recovered after a suspected armed clash near Cucuta, northern Colombia. Semana reported that clashes between rival armed groups broke out on the border with Venezuela. Initially, eight bodies were recovered in the town of Palmarito. Another five were also found across the border with Venezuela. Most of the victims sustained gunshot wounds, while at least one of the victims was a minor. Due to strained diplomatic relations between Colombia and Venezuela, incidents of violence have been frequent on the border areas, where criminal groups battle for control.

Senator Uribe's close aide resigns for alleged links to vote-buying scandal

A close aide to former president Alvaro Uribe has announced her resignation after being implicated in a vote-buying scandal. Maria Claudia Daza was still serving as an aide to Uribe, who is currently a senator. She is accused of featuring is audio with Jose Guillermo Hernandez, alias Nene, amid a vote-buying scheme to benefit President Ivan Duque in the department of La Guajira. She denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the allegations are politically motivated. Nene was a rancher accused of involvement with drug-trafficking. He died last year during a robbery attempt in Brazil. El Espectador reported that the audio was intercepted as part of the investigations in the death of Oscar Rodriguez Pomar, who had a close business relationship with Nene.

Colombia, Peru, and French Guiana confirm coronavirus cases

Colombia, Peru, and French Guiana have all recently confirmed their first coronavirus cases. At least five cases have been reported in Colombia, while seven have been confirmed in Peru and just one person has been diagnosed in French Guiana. Other South American countries with confirmed cases include Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Argentina.

Two social leaders killed in northern Colombia

Two social leaders have been killed in separate incidents in northern Colombia. Didian Arley Agudelo, a 38-year-old farmer, was found dead on Saturday in Campamento, north of Antioquia. Another social leader, Amado Torres, was murdered in the village of La Miranda. Hundreds of social leaders have been killed in Colombia in recent years; in January the Colombian Institute for Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz) revealed that 27 social leaders had been killed in the first 27 days of 2020.

Several missing after landslide hits village near Bucaramanga, Santander

At least 11 people have been reported missing after a major landslide hit a village in the north-eastern department of Santander. According to the emergency services, the landslide hit the village of Piedecuesta. Local authorities told EFE that among those missing are three children. Reports show that a massive landslide hit several houses in the low-income areas of Barroblanco and El Boqueron. Piedecuesta is located in the metropolitan area of Bucaramanga. Intense rainfall in the region has caused extensive damage. Landslides and flooding have also affected communities in central Colombia.

Parliamentary committee opens investigation into President Duque

A committee in the lower chamber of Congress has opened an investigation into President Ivan Duque. The investigations were launched after allegations of former congresswoman Aida Merlano, who was recently detained in Venezuela. Merlano fled prison last year after attending a medical appointment in Bogota. She had previously been sentenced to serve 15 years in prison for electoral fraud. Opposition congressman David Racero was the first to request the opening of investigations based on Merlano's testimonies. They will address crimes linked to electoral fraud and corruption.

ELN former peace negotiator detained for involvement in kidnapping

A former member of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has been detained for their involvement in more than 64 kidnappings. Gerardo Antonio Bermudez, alias Francisco Galan, was arrested in Medellin on Saturday after a court order issued in Cali. Francisco Galan is accused of kidnapping 64 people back in 2000 when he was a member of the Jose Maria Becerra front. The incident happened on the main road between Cali and Buenaventura when dozens of people were taken from several public venues. Galan was previously the peace spokesman of the group, but he was expelled from the ELN several years ago.

Dozens of hectares burnt in major wildfire in southern Colombia

Dozens of hectares of environmentally-rich areas in southern Colombia have been destroyed after a wildfire broke out over the weekend. Emergency services and the military rushed to the Tinigua National Natural Park after a major wildfire threatened to spread towards the Cano Cristales, one of the most important ecosystems in the country. Interior Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has accused FARC dissidents of being behind the fires. Colombian authorities have long clashed with militant groups that often burn forests to expand drug-plantations. Campesinos have also been involved in grievances with the local authorities. Colombia has recently announced the creation of a special task force dedicated to protecting national parks across the country. Part of the efforts is coupled with the current Operacion Artemisa, which was launched back in 2019 to increase the monitoring of protects areas nationwide.

Uber operations to resume in Colombia

Uber operations in Colombia have resumed after a three-week-long absence due to a legal dispute. Uber had shut down its app after a court order in January. The company said that they have found alternative ways to operate legally in Colombia. Taxi drivers' associations claimed that Uber is exploiting a legal loophole. Uber argues that they were unfairly targeted as other app-based companies were not similarly sanctioned. Uber and other similar services have been facing increasing resistance in Latin America. The new rule may still be appealed by the taxi drivers' associations.

Demobilised FARC militant killed in Puerto Guzman, Putumayo

A demobilised member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been killed in the southern department of Putumayo. According to reports, the victim was killed when gunmen targeted him in Puerto Guzman. Daniel Jimenez was murdered on Sunday but his death was only reported days later. The killing of demobilised FARC militants has largely compromised the future of the peace agreement between the group and the government. 

Social and workers' associations to launch nationwide strike

A nationwide strike is scheduled to take place on Friday. Members of the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (Fecode) have said that they will launch demonstrations on Thursday and Friday due to threats against teachers across Colombia. Several other smaller associations will also join protests. The strike will also be launched to protest against government plans to legalise the appropriation of unoccupied lands in Colombia, a decision that has generated concerns from campesino organisations. In previous strikes, public transports were brought to a halt, while protests turned violent in major cities.

Seven killed in vehicle explosion near Rosas, Cauca

At least seven people have been killed and nearly a dozen others injured after a vehicle exploded in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Reuters reported that the incident happened in the rural area of Rosas on Tuesday. Conflictive reports initially indicated that the incident was an attack. Cauca Governor Elias Carabali condemned the incident, while the local People's Ombudsman described it as car bomb attack. However, General Jorge Isaacs Hoyos, the commander of the Army's third division, told reporters that the incident was not a terrorist act. He added that the vehicle suddenly exploded while travelling from Cali to Pasto. Investigations are ongoing. The area where the incident happened has been facing an escalation of violence due to the presence of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and dissident fronts of the FARC. Earlier this week, a military operation recovered hundreds of explosives in Piamonte.

Four killed in armed attack in western Medellin, Antioquia

Four people have been killed after gunmen targeted a local shop in western Medellin. According to reports, the incident happened in the Antonio Narino neighbourhood on Saturday. Local sources said that three men riding a motorcycle approached the establishment and opened fire indiscriminately. For several years, the area around the 13th district of Medellin has been known for disputes between rival criminal groups, including the infamous Oficina de Envigado and the Clan del Golfo paramilitary group. Despite violence being sporadically reported in Medellin, the city recorded a decrease in homicide rates last year.

Gunmen kill two indigenous leaders in Miranda, Cauca

Two local community leaders have been killed in Cauca, south-western Colombia. According to reports, the victims were shot dead in the town of Miranda, located in the northern area of the department. El Espectador reported that the incident happened at a community integration centre in Cilia. Another man was also injured in the attack. Several incidents involving indigenous communities have been reported in recent months in Cauca. During the same weekend, another local leader was killed in the Las Delicias area in Buenos Aires. Local organisations have already raised concerns over death threats issued against indigenous communities in Cauca. Although it is still unclear who is involved in the incidents, they happened during a nationwide strike called by the National Liberation Army (ELN). Rights groups claim that more than 70 indigenous people were killed in Cauca during 2019.

Several killed as light aircraft crashes near Bogota

At least four people have been killed after a light aircraft crashed just after taking off from an airport near Bogota. According to the Colombian Civil Aviation Authority, the Piper PA-31 departed from the Guaymaral Airport towards the southern town of Villagarzon in Putumayo. EFE reported that the aircraft was operated by the Aerotaxi Guaymaral company. All passengers died in the accident. Investigations into the causes of the crash are ongoing.

Armed forces on high alert ahead of ELN nationwide strike

Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has announced that the Colombian security forces are on high alert after the National Liberation Army (ELN) announced plans to introduce a nationwide armed strike. According to reports, the strike will kick off on Friday and last until Monday morning, 17 February. Holmes Trujillo said that the armed forces and the police will be on alert and will not allow militants to suppress mobility in certain areas in Colombia. The ELN often launch armed strikes in the country. During this period, roadblocks are frequent, while local businesses and other venues are forced to close. The most high-risk areas are those that the ELN controls or has a strong presence in, including the departments of Cesar, Antioquia, Cauca and Narino. Vehicles are often set on fire, while curfews may be imposed. People in those areas are advised extreme caution to avoid being the target of reprisals.

Local councilman killed in house raid in Cunday, Tolima

A local councilman was shot dead when armed criminals raided his residence in Tolima, central Colombia. EFE reported that Jeovanny Oliveros was shot in the town of Cunday. Tolima Governor Ricardo Orozco claimed that Oliveros was killed when armed suspects entered his home as part of a burglary. Oliveros was a member of the Green Alliance. Senior members of the party demanded an investigation on the incident and raised concerns over the death of local politicians and social leaders in Colombia. According to reports, at least 18 social and political leaders were gunned down in Colombia in January.

Military recovers hundreds of explosive devices in Piamonte, Cauca

Colombia's military has confirmed that a massive cache of explosives has been recovered in an isolated rural area in Piamonte, Cauca. A joint military operation led to the discovery of more than 800 mortars in an area known as Congor. In an official statement, the Colombian National Army claimed that the devices could be used in future attacks against the security forces. It added that the devices were all charged with pentolite, a high explosive composite. Although it remains unclear which group the devices belong to, dissident fronts of the FARC are known for operating in the rural areas across Cauca.

Government plans to eradicate up to 130,000 hectares of illicit crops in 2020

Colombia's defence ministry has confirmed that the government aims at eradicating at least 130,000 hectares of illicit crops in 2020. This year's target is nearly a third larger than the previous year. Despite eradication efforts, drug plantations have significantly expanded in Colombia since 2017. Colombia has been facing increasing pressure from the US government to address the issue. Crop fumigation is a controversial issue in the country. The practice was suspended in 2015 after recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO). Alternatives include the manual destruction of crops, but those are considered far more unpractical and dangerous. The government is currently working in health and environmental requirements to resume aerial fumigation.

ELN investigated for downing electricity tower near Medellin, Antioquia

An electricity tower has been destroyed in a suspected bomb attack in the outskirts of Medellin, Antioquia. The incident happened on Friday in the La Cruz neighbourhood in La Honda. Medellin's Mayor Daniel Quintero claimed that members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) could be behind the attack. The incident happened just days after Quintero urged the security services to step up measures to counter the ELN, FARC dissidents and other paramilitary groups in some rural areas around Medellin. ELN fronts widely operate in Antioquia, but bomb attacks and other incidents are extremely rare in Medellin.

OIE reinstate Colombia's FMD-free certification

Colombia has been recertified as free of the foot and mouth disease (FMD) after losing it back in 2018. In a statement, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed the reinstatement of the country's FMD-free status. Colombia lost its FMD-free certification after an outbreak in the northern department of Cesar. President Ivan Duque praised the OIE's decision and said that it will allow the country to almost double its meat exports.

Supreme Court requests foreign ministry to start extradition of fugitive congresswoman

Colombia's Supreme Court has requested the foreign ministry to initiate extradition procedures against fugitive lawmaker Aida Merlano. Merlano was detained last month in Venezuela. She had escaped custody last year after attending a medical appointment in Bogota. As Colombia and Venezuela severed diplomatic relations, the court asked the government to invoke an ancient extradition agreement reached with several countries, including Venezuela, in 1911. The delicate extradition process against Merlano was compromised after she claimed that she is being politically persecuted by the government of President Ivan Duque. In addition, she claimed that she was the target of a government-sponsored assassination attempt in late-January in Bogota. Justice Minister Margarita Cabello said that her remarks are “fabrication of the dictatorial regime of Nicolas Maduro that seek to smear the honour of the president.”

Park ranger shot dead in Guican, Boyaca

A park ranger in the north-eastern department of Boyaca has been shot dead. Local sources told EFE that the 38-year-old victim was killed when gunmen targeted him in the rural area of Guican. Yamid Alonso Silva Torres was a ranger at the El Cocuy National Park. He was in charge of ecotourism in the La Esperanza area. The incident came just a day after the treasurer of a local community near Guican was also murdered.

Bogota mayor claims that FARC dissidents infiltrated last January's protests

Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez has claimed that dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have infiltrated last month's demonstrations in the capital. Investigations have been launched after six people were detained for violence during a demonstration on 21 January. Nationwide protests were called at the time against the death of social leaders and some policies of President Ivan Duque. Lopez claimed that those detained were paid by FARC dissident fronts to stir up violence in the capital. She added that fronts of the National Liberation Army (ELN) are also under investigation. Colombian authorities have long accused militant and paramilitary groups of infiltrating social gatherings in order to create chaos.

Hundreds displaced due to armed violence in Narino

Clashes involving rival armed groups have led to the displacement of more than 1,600 people in the restive department of Narino. In recent weeks, intense clashes in the rural areas of Roberto Payaln has forced the displacement of hundreds of families. Local authorities told EFE that up to 4,000 people have been already displaced from the towns of Tumaco and Olaya Herrera. Criminal groups engaged in drug-trafficking widely operate in Narino. Recent incidents have also affected the town of Tumaco, where more than 3,300 people were forced to leave their homes due to armed clashes.

Indigenous guard killed in armed raid in Cauca

An indigenous guard has been killed after gunmen raided a public establishment in Cauca, south-western Colombia. A local NGO claimed that Javier Trivino was gunned down in the town of Santander de Quilichao. According to reports, the victim was part of a local indigenous community based in La Maria. Last year, political tensions escalated in Cauca after the death of several indigenous guards. Militant groups engaged in drug-trafficking are known to systematically target them. Such groups are also claimed to be behind frequent threats and intimidation against indigenous communities across Cauca.

Demobilised FARC members abandon reintegration camp in Ituango, Antioquia

Dozens of demobilised members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have reportedly abandoned a reintegration site in Antioquia. According to local media, the former militants and their family have abandoned the centre in Ituango due to security concerns. The move came just days after one of the rehabilitation site's residents was murdered. Members of the FARC political group, the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, have long accused the government of failing to guarantee the protection of demobilised FARC militants based in rural areas across Colombia.

Demobilised FARC member killed in Ituango, Antioquia

A demobilised militia fighter from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been killed on a highway in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. According to the FARC political party, Dario Herrera was gunned down in the rural town of Ituango. According to the party, at least five of its members were killed so far this year. Reports from the UN Verification Mission in Colombia show that 77 former FARC militants were killed in 2019. Interior Minister Nancy Gutierrez has recently made controversial comments regarding the peace deal reached in 2016. She told reporters that the agreement is almost a total failure.

Heavy fog triggers flight disruption at Bogota's El Dorado

Flights to and from Bogota's El Dorado International Airport (BOG) may be disrupted due to intense fog affecting the capital on Tuesday morning. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines. Delays of up to two hours are already being reported on most flights departing during the morning, while some arrivals are also being affected.

Several killed in bus crash in Caldas

At least five people have been killed after a bus drove off a ravine in the central department of Caldas. Reports showed that at least 14 other passengers were injured when the crash happened on Sunday afternoon. AP reported that the accident occurred between the towns of Salamina and Pacora. The bus was covering a route between Manizales and Aguadas. Bus accidents are frequent in Colombia, especially along poorly maintained secondary roads.

Two killed in grenade attack, Cordoba

At least two people have been killed and seven others wounded after unknown assailants threw a grenade and opened fire in the Cordoba department. The attack took place in the San Jose de Ure area on Friday morning. The assailants fled towards the nearby Antioquia department. The commander of the Cordoba Police, Colonel Jairo Baquero Puentes, said the incident could be related the ongoing clashes between the criminal groups, Clan del Golfo and Los Caparros.

Three killed in flooding at gold mine, Risaralda

Three miners have died after a gold mine in the central department of Risaralda was hit by flooding. Emergency services rushed to the El Tesoro mine in Riosucio after three men got trapped. AP reported that the flooding happened on Wednesday afternoon. A local official said that the victims were found dead a day later at a depth of nearly 35 metres. Mining accidents are common in Colombia. They mainly occur due to the lax enforcement of safety conditions.

Suspect militants raid village after presidential visit to Bajo Cauca

At least two people have been killed and dozens more have also been displaced after a suspect paramilitary group raided a village in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Local media reported that armed militants erected roadblocks in the town of Taraza. The incident happened just hours after President Ivan Duque visited the region and pledged to improve security measures in high-risk areas. Paramilitary and militant groups widely operate across the Bajo Cauca region. 

Colombia to request US and EU to designate FARC fronts as terrorist groups

Colombia's government is expected to request that the US and the EU add FARC dissident fronts to their list of terrorist organisations. In a statement, the Colombian foreign ministry has said that the designation of FARC dissidents as terrorist groups would curb their international criminal operations. The original FARC group was removed from both lists during the peace negotiations. However, since the demobilisation of the group, several dissident fronts have emerged. The main threat came when senior members of the FARC, including Ivan Marquez and alias 'El Paisa', made a call to arms to FARC dissidents in Colombia. It is estimated that more than 2,500 FARC dissidents still operate in the isolated jungle and mountain area across Colombia.

HRW raise concerns over violence along Venezuelan border

A report published by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has raised concerns over the presence of militant and paramilitary groups along the Venezuelan border. According to HRW findings, criminal groups operate on both sides of the border, systematically targeting civilians and enforcing a series of rules. In Colombia, the groups identified were the National Liberation Army (ELN) and dissident fronts of the FARC that operates across the Arauca department. Testimonies given to the HRW said that people have been murdered, assaulted and kidnapped in the region. Extortion is also a common issue against local businesses. Additionally, children and minors are also recruited to join criminal activities, while citizens are taken into labour camps as punishment. Colombia and Venezuela share a porous border. Security in the region has highly deteriorated since both countries severed diplomatic relations in 2019.

Soldiers injured in bomb attack in Tame, Arauca

Four soldiers have been injured in a bomb attack against a police station in Arauca, northern Colombia. According to the military, the attack happened in the rural area of Tame, where several explosive devices were detonated. Colombia's Army claims that the attack was led by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN). Paramilitary and militant groups are known to operate in the region. They often target military posts and patrols in rural areas.

FARC member quits party over political differences

A former guerilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has resigned from her position in the FARC political party. Dutch-born Tanja Nijmeijer, alias 'Alexandra Narino', has announced her resignation over political differences with the FARC and its leadership. Nijmeijer stepped down at the same time that another FARC lawmaker also announced his resignation. Since the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force was formed in the aftermath of the peace deal, dozens of politicians quit the party. In November, 39 people announced that they were leaving the party due to an apparent lack of political coordination.

Thousands take part in nationwide strike

Thousands of demonstrators are expected to take part in a nationwide strike launched against the government of President Ivan Duque. Major cities across Colombia are expected to face severe travel disruption as dozens of marches are scheduled to take place on Tuesday. Bogota, Cali, Barranquilla, Medellin, Bucaramanga and Cauca are among those cities where events are expected to occur throughout the day. Visitors are advised caution and to remain vigilant when near large gatherings. On previous occasions, nationwide strikes have led to violent clashes between protesters and the security forces. The strike takes place as several public sectors demand the government for better working conditions, security, investment and fiscal reforms.

Government requests extradition of ELN leader in Cuba

The Colombian government has formally asked Cuba to extradite a senior member of the National Liberation Army (ELN). Colombia's High Commissioner for Peace Miguel Ceballos said that Nicolas Bautista, alias 'Gabino', is accused of aggravated kidnapping. The charges were initially set at a court in the north-western department of Antioquia. Ceballos also reiterated calls for the extradition of other ELN leaders that are currently in Cuba. The announcement came as Colombian prosecutors prepared charges against four ELN leaders for involvement in last year's military school bombing in Bogota.

Regional ELN leader detained in joint operation in Antioquia

A regional leader of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has been detained during a joint police operation in north-western Colombia. The Colombian Army has said in a statement that alias 'El Ingeniero' was part of the group for more than 20 years. He is accused of leading kidnapping and ELN operations in the town of Bello, Antioquia. He and his Guerra Urbano Front are also accused of launching operations across the Aburra Valley. Talks between the government and the ELN are currently stalled after the group refused to cease kidnappings. The ELN operates across north-western Colombia. The group is involved in clashes against rival paramilitary groups, attacks against security forces and bombing against energy facilities in jungle areas.

UN raise concerns over killing of human rights activists in Colombia

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has raised concerns over the systematic killing of human rights defenders in Colombia. In a report published on Tuesday, the UNHRC has said that at least 10 activists were reportedly killed in Colombia so far this year. According to the UNHRC, in 2019 at least 107 activists were murdered in the country, most of them in rural areas in which criminal groups widely operate and poverty levels are high. Some areas are known as former FARC-held territory. The UNHRC said: "We call on the authorities to redouble their efforts to ensure a free and secure environment for civic engagement and to increase the presence of civil State authorities in rural areas to provide basic services such as health and education".

Supreme Court investigate discovery of wiretap device in magistrate's office

Colombia's Supreme Court is currently investigating the discovery of several wiretapping devices in offices belonging to magistrates in charge of the probe against former President Alvaro Uribe. Local media reported that at least one device was found in the office of Cesar Reyes, who is currently preparing the trial against Uribe. It is still unclear who is responsible for planting the devices. Semana reported that one of the lines of enquiry follows the alleged involvement of a former army general, Nicasio Martinez, a close ally to Uribe and his Democratic Center (CD). Offices of the Supreme Court are currently being searched for other suspicious devices. Uribe is accused of collusion with paramilitary groups in Antioquia department during his time as president.

Police foil assassination attempt against FARC leader

Police have claimed that they have foiled an assassination attempt against the leader of the FARC, Rodrigo Londono Echeverri. According to preliminary reports, dissident members of the dissolved militant group have ordered his assassination. National Police Director Gen Oscar Atehortua said that former commanders Ivan Marquez and alias 'El Paisa' are behind the plot. Londono, also known as Timochenko, currently leads the FARC political party, which was created as a result of the peace agreement in 2016. Police reports suggest that two alleged assassins were intercepted near his farm located in south-western Colombia. Marquez - a former senator - and El Paisa are among several former FARC leaders to issue a call for arms to dissident FARC militants.

Soldier injured in truck bomb attack against airbase in Yopal, Casanare

At least one person has been injured after truck bomb exploded outside the Yopal Air Base in Casanare, central Colombia. Police told CNN Espanol that a vehicle carrying explosive artefacts exploded near the airbase in the early hours of Friday morning. At least one soldier has been injured, while no fatalities have initially been reported. It is still unclear who is behind the attack. Casanare is located east of Bogota. For many years, the department was at the centre of the country's long-standing conflict involving the FARC. As the region is considered one of the main oil production hubs in Colombia, militant and paramilitary groups often clash to control territory. Reports suggest that local communities in Casnare are often the target of extortion and intimidation.

President Duque claims that crop eradication achieved record numbers in 2019

President Ivan Duque has claimed that the military has eradicated record numbers of coca crops in Colombia. President Duque said on Thursday that more than 100,000 hectares of illicit crops were destroyed during 2019. He also claimed that more than 400 tonnes of cocaine were seized in the same year. Colombia has been under increasing pressure from the US after failing to address drug-trafficking and the production of illicit drugs. Eradicating coca crops and introducing crop substitution programmes were among the main points of the peace agreement reached with the FARC back in 2016.

Adverse weather may impact flights across Colombia

Colombia's Civil Aviation Authority (ACC) has said that some airports may face disruption due to adverse weather conditions. In a statement released on Thursday, ACC has confirmed that for several days operations at Bogota's El Dorado International Airport (BOG) have been affected by heavy fog. Other airports across the country are also facing significant disruption. ACC claims that the situation is common during this time of the year. Passengers have been recommended to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines. Additionally, travellers can also monitor social media updates from ACC.

Local social leader killed in Puerto Guzman, Putumayo

A local social activist has been killed alongside another person in Putumayo, southern Colombia. Gloria Ocampo was killed in the town of Puerto Guzman on Tuesday. Opposition lawmaker Cesar Pachon claimed on social media that she is the first social leader to be killed in 2020. EFE reported that Ocampo led the local community council in the village of La Estrella. She was openly in favour of the government's crop substitution programme. According to Pachon, gunmen raided her house and opened fire. UN reports showed that more than 80 social leaders were killed in Colombia during 2019. 

Rural community in Choco on lockdown after paramilitary group raid

A rural community located in the north-western department of Choco has been put on lockdown after a suspect paramilitary group raided the village. A local social leader told EFE that members of the Colombian Gaitanista Self-Defense (AGC) have blocked people from leaving the village of Pogue, located in the town of Bojaya. He claimed that the use of mobile phones has been restricted and that access to the village has been blocked. Choco is one of the most affected departments in Colombia by the armed conflict. Alongside paramilitary groups, the National Liberation Army (ELN) is also known to operate in the region. A report from the UN Verification Mission in Colombia showed that the department continues to face mass displacements, attacks and threats.

Soldiers injured in car bomb attack against military base in Cubara, Boyaca

At least three soldiers have been killed after a car bomb targeted a military base in Boyaca, north-eastern Colombia. Deputy Interior Minister Francisco Caux told reporters that the attack was perpetrated by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN). He claimed that the assailants fired explosives against the military base in the bordering town of Cubara. This is the latest incident involving the ELN in northern Colombia. Earlier this week, several vehicles were set on fire in a blockade claimed to be carried out by the group. Peace talks with the ELN are stalled since President Ivan Duque took office.

Several killed as assailants raid residence in Taraza, Antioquia

At least three people have been killed after armed assailants raided a residence in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Local media reported that seven hooded assailants entered a house and took the victims to a local football field in Taraza, where they were killed with a grenade. Authorities believe that the assailants are linked to a criminal group known as 'Los Caparros'. Local government sources said that the victims worked in the local mining industry. Taraza is located on the road between Caucasia and Valdivia, where earlier this week several vehicles were set on fire in a suspected militant attack.

ELN founder dies in Cuba

One of the founders of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has died in Cuba. Fabio Vasquez Castano was the last surviving founder of the group. He was part of the ELN until 1973 when he was expelled by alias 'Gambino' and Manuel Perez for his alleged leadership skills. It is still unknown what the causes of his death are. Vasquez Castano was already relatively distant from the group for many decades while living in Cuba, where he fled to after leaving the ELN.

Colombia's migration chief resigns

The head of the Colombian migration agency Christian Kruger announced his resignation on Sunday. Kruger led Migracion Colombia for five years, first taking office during the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos. He surprisingly resigned weeks after President Ivan Duque ordered a cabinet reshuffle. His resignation comes as Colombia is facing widespread protests and the effects of the current migration crisis in Venezuela. Kruger is expected to leave office in early-January, while it is still unclear who will replace him. He claimed that he is resigning due to personal and family reasons.

Thousands affected due to flooding in Barbacoas, Narino

At least 6,000 people have been affected after intense rainfall caused a significant increase in the levels of the Telembi River in Barbacoas, Narino. According to reports from the Disaster Risk Management National Unit (UNGRD), no casualties have been reported. Both urban and rural areas of Barbacoas have been affected, while national agencies are assessing the situation. Flooding has been reported in eight areas across the city. Flooding and landslides in the region are frequent during the winter rainy season, which has started back in September and is expected to last until mid-December.

Thousands affected due to armed violence in departments along Colombia's Pacific Coast

Reports have indicated that more than 11,000 people across the country were affected by armed violence in November. According to reports from the UN Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the most affected populations are those in the Pacific Coast, which houses the departments of Narino, Cauca and Choco. Incidents in those areas have mainly involved rebels from the National Liberation Army (ELN) and FARC dissident fronts, both of which have been engaged in territorial disputes. Also in northern Colombia, paramilitary groups have also been responsible for most of the violence. Since the FARC peace deal was signed back in 2016, some militant and paramilitary groups have stepped up efforts to take over vacant drug-trafficking territory across Colombia.

Mayor shot dead in Sutatausa

A local mayor has been shot dead by unknown assailants in Sutatausa. The governor of Cundinamarca, Jorge Emilio Rey, said mayor Jose Humberto Rodriguez was targeted after a meeting on Tuesday night. The Attorney General's office has ordered an investigation into the attack and police have offered a 50m pesos reward for information leading to the capture and prosecution of the killers.

Seven soldiers wounded by landmine

Seven Colombian soldiers have been wounded after a landmine exploded in the southern Bolivar department. General Jairo Leguizamon Rivas said five troops suffered minor injuries, while two others were hospitalised and required treatment following the blast in Montecristo. The troops were conducting clearing operations against members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) when the device exploded.

Protests resume after talks break down

Anti-government protests have resumed in Colombia after talks broke down between the authorities and activist leaders. A committee of protest groups - representing trade unions, students and indigenous group - has given President Ivan Duque a list of 13 demands, which they are due to discuss during further talks on Thursday. They include that the government fully adheres to its obligations under the peace deal agreed with FARC rebels in 2016 and disbanding the riot police force which killed a student protester.

ELN clash with FARC militants, Guapi

Fighters from the National Liberation Army (ELN) have clashed with FARC dissidents in the Guapi municipality. Local officials said the two groups were fighting over control of drug trafficking routes and illegal mining near the town of San Antonio de Guajui. At least seven people were killed in the exchange, while a civilian was also wounded. Meanwhile, a soldier kidnapped nine months ago in Arauca has been released and handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Employee of French company Thales killed in Bogota

An employee of the French defence company Thales has been killed in Colombia's capital, Bogota. The AFP news agency said the victim, a French engineer, was shot dead in the Chapinero district on Monday. "We reject the hypothesis of a robbery. According to the evidence we have, this is an assassination perpetrated by a hitman," police Major Robert Mendez told reporters. The company said it was in contact with local and diplomatic authorities.

Dominican criminal arrested in Cartagena

A Dominican criminal kingpin has been arrested in Cartagena. Cesar Emilio Peralta Adamez - known as Cesar the Abuser - was detained a day after the FBI posted a $100k reward for information leading to his arrest and prosecution. He had been on the run since last August over allegations that he was the head of drug trafficking network which moves heroin and cocaine from Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and the US.

Police officer killed near Cali

A police officer has been shot dead in the Floralia sector of Cali. The security secretary of Cali, Andrés Villamizar, said the mayor's office would use all of its resources to capture the killers. The victim has been identified as Javier Mendez, who was targeted on 77th street on Sunday.

Soldier killed by IED in Ituango

A Colombian soldier has been killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in the Ituango area of Antioquia. The  Seventh Division of the National Army of Colombia said troops were on patrol in the rural area when Diego Alexander Maldonado was killed. They had been deployed following clashes between illegal groups, which led to the displacement of 200 local residents.

Thousands march in memory of teenage protester

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Bogota in memory of a teenage protester who was killed on Monday. Dilian Cruz was hit by a projectile fired by riot police during a student rally on Saturday. Other marches were also reported in Cali and other Colombia cities on Wednesday. Earlier this week President Ivan Duque met with protesters leaders to discuss the ongoing unrest in the country, although no agreement was reached.

Official kidnapped near Venezuelan border

An official from the Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF) has been kidnapped in Norte de Santander, near the border with Venezuela. Yolanda Ramirez was abducted by two men on a motorcycle in the rural Tubi area. Colonel Fabián Ospina said officers have been deployed to track down the assailants. Militants from the National Liberation Army (ELN) are among several guerrilla and criminal groups which are active in the area.

Death of teenage protester sparks anger

A teenager wounded during student protests in Bogota on Sunday has succumbed to his injuries. Dilan Cruz's death has sparked outrage and prompted fresh rallies in the capital, with protesters accusing the security forces of using deadly force. He had joined a march to demand improved access to higher education when he was hit by a projectile fired by riot police. President Iván Duque said he deeply regretted Cruz's death and will meet with protest leaders on Tuesday.

Troops to remain deployed on streets

President Iván Duque has said security forces will remain on the streets as protests continue in the country. More than 250,000 people took to the streets on Thursday for the first day of a national strike. "We express the total and absolute rejection of all Colombians for the vandalism, for the terrorism, for the looting," Duque told reporters. At least three people have been killed in the country, while a curfew was imposed in Bogota on Friday. A bomb also killed three police officers and wounded 10 others in the town of Santander de Quilchao in Cauca province.

Sporadic episodes of violence reported during nationwide strike

Sporadic episodes of violence have spread after hundreds of thousands took to the streets across Colombia as part of a nationwide strike. Several social groups and organisations have joined dozens of marches to pressure the government of President Ivan Duque. They addressed a number of issues that include improvements to education, enhanced security to social leaders and indigenous groups, and government plans to introduce pension reforms. A night-time curfew was briefly imposed in the city of Cali, while clashes were reported in Bogota, Medellin and other major cities. This is the latest challenge against President Duque, who took office last year. Some disruption may still be reported over the weekend across Colombia, especially in Bogota.

Government braces to face major nationwide strike

Thousands are set to take to streets as part of a major nationwide strike on Thursday. Security reinforcement has been deployed to most cities across Colombia. Public transports will face disruption, while some flights from Bogota and Medellin may be either cancelled or delayed. Border crossings have also been suspended between Thursday and Friday morning. Local governments have been granted permission to suspend alcohol consumption and to introduce a curfew if necessary. Extreme caution is advised when near large gatherings as protests may turn violent. Although the nationwide strike is scheduled for Thursday, protests may spread over the weekend. Among the reasons for the strike, include security, education, social development and many other issues. President Ivan Duque has claimed that leftist governments and institutions in South America are behind the demonstration.

Security measures beefed up ahead of the nationwide strike

Security measures will be enhanced across Colombia ahead of a nationwide strike scheduled for Thursday. Thousands are expected to take to the streets of Bogota and other major cities to protest against the government of President Ivan Duque. Although the protest is expected to be peaceful, extreme caution is advised when near large gatherings. Migracion Colombia said that all of the country's land and maritime borders will be closed between Thursday and Friday. Road travel and public transports could also be affected. Air travel in Colombia is expected to be significantly impacted as civil aviation workers are also set to join the demonstrations. Indigenous groups, student unions and other organisations are set to join the protests. President Duque has claimed that allegations against his government are false and that the march is being fueled by left-wing groups in Latin America.

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Abrego, Norte de Santander

The Ombudsman's Office of Colombia has warned of intense clashes involving militant groups in Norte de Santander. Clashes between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the People's Liberation Army (EPL) have led to the displacement of nearly 1,000 people. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), tensions in the region have escalated since the regional election was held last month. Special concerns have been drawn towards rural villages located in the town of Abrego. Civilians are often affected by clashes between rival militant groups and military operations in the restive Catatumbo region. Groups engaged in drug-trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and other illicit activities widely operate in the region.

President Duque meets Panamanian counterpart to strengthen border security

President Ivan Duque has met with his Panamanian counterpart, Laurentino Cortizo, to strengthen migration control and border security between both countries. President Cortizo headed for his first official visit to Bogota to discuss security, public policies and other issues. Colombia and Panama are separated by the notorious Tapon del Darien, a deep jungle area that has been widely used by criminal groups engaged in migrant smuggling and drug-trafficking. Panama has been also known as one of the main shipping routes of drugs heading from northern Colombia's Uraba Gulf to the US.

UNP officer found dead after being kidnapped in Riosucio, Choco

The bodyguard of a social leader based in the north-western department of Choco has been gunned down. According to the National Protection Unit (UNP), the victim was kidnapped alongside his partner and found dead in the Atrato River in Riosucio, an isolated rural community where criminal groups engaged with drug-trafficking are known to operate. The UNP said that the victims were taken by an undisclosed criminal group in the town of Carmen del Darien. The UNP is a special security detachment linked to the interior ministry. It is tasked with protecting politicians, social leaders and people threatened by criminal entities in Colombia. Choco has been considered one of the country's main shipping points of drugs to Central America and the Caribbean.

President Duque nominates Claudia Blum as new foreign minister

President Ivan Duque has nominated Claudia Blum as the new Colombian foreign minister. Blum is the former Senate speaker and has also served as the Colombian ambassador to the UN during the government of President Alvaro Uribe. She replaces Carlos Trujillo, who was reassigned to lead the defence ministry after the resignation of Guillermo Botero. Blum will face increasing challenges related to the Colombian relationship with neighbouring Venezuela and the country's position within the Lima Group. She is also expected to follow the same guidance of her predecessor over Colombia's foreign policy towards Cuba, where the government demands the extradition of the negotiators' team of the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Carlos Trujillo nominated as new defense minister

President Ivan Duque has nominated Carlos Holmes Trujillo as the country's new defence minister. Trujillo is replacing Guillermo Botero, who was forced to resign after increasing pressure from the opposition. Botero's resignation came after details emerged of a previous military operation where several children were killed. Trujillo was serving as foreign minister and has had strained relations with Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro. He had often criticised Venezuela for harbouring dissident members of the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN). In a televised speech, President Duque said: “We are pleased that Carlos Holmes Trujillo will take on this new task. He will be in charge, of course, of confronting organised armed groups in all national territory.”

FARC politician killed in armed attack in Corinto, Cauca

A member of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) has been gunned down in Cauca, south-western Colombia. According to the party, Diego Campo was killed in the town of Corinto on Saturday. Campo was a former candidate of the FARC in the local elections held in late-October. The killing of former militants and members of the FARC political party has raised political tensions in Colombia. Corinto has recently experienced several episodes of violence, where militant and paramilitary groups have also targeted indigenous communities.

Air travel could be affected ahead of nationwide strike

Air travel in Colombia may be affected ahead of a nationwide strike scheduled for 21 November. Civil aviation workers are expected to join thousands across the country in a fresh demonstration against the government of President Ivan Duque. Although the Civil Aviation Authority is currently working to mitigate disruption, delays and flight cancellations may be reported in major airports in Colombia, including Bogota's El Dorado International Airport (BOG) and Medellin's Jose Maria Cordova International Airport (MDE). Passengers are advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines.

Soldier killed in attack against military base in Tibu, Norte de Santander

A soldier has been killed during an attack against a military base in Norte de Santander. According to the Colombian Army, explosives targeted a military facility in the town of Tibu, where four other soldiers were injured. The military has attributed the attack to the National Liberation Army (ELN). El Espectador reported that the attack was against a base known as 'El Bascula, located in a rural area of Campo Dos de Tibu. Tibu is part of the restive Catatumbo region, where militant groups such as the ELN widely operate alongside paramilitary entities and criminal groups engaged in drug-trafficking.

Social and workers' groups to launch nationwide strike

Social and workers' groups are scheduled to launch a strike action against alleged pension and labour reforms in Colombia. President Ivan Duque has dismissed allegations that his government is working on a new set of legislation to change the current pension and labour system. Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez has claimed that some violent groups may join the protests after an unnamed man published an unverified video threatening government supporters. Students, labour associations and indigenous groups are expected to join the protests against violence in Colombia. Although the demonstration is expected to be peaceful, tensions may escalate without any warning. Caution is advised on travels to Bogota and other major cities.

Colombian Armed Forces chief nominated as new interim defense minister

President Ivan Duque has nominated Luis Fernando Navarro as the new interim defence minister. Navarro is nominated as the replacement of Guillermo Botero, who had been facing severe political pressure due to violence in Cauca and his involvement in a military operation that killed several teenagers in Caqueta. Botero resigned before facing a vote of confidence in parliament. Navarro had previously served as interim defence minister back in 2009 during the government of President Alvaro Uribe. He is the current head of the Colombian Armed Forces. Opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda has urged President Duque to nominate a new minister that is committed to respecting human rights and to work towards the implementation of the FARC peace agreement.

Defense Minister Botero resigns

Defence Minister Guillermo Botero has resigned after details of a military operation were made public. In his resignation letter published on Wednesday, Botero said that after a meeting with President Ivan Duque he has decided to leave his office due to the current political situation in Colombia. Botero was set to face a no-confidence vote in parliament for mishandling a series of violent incidents impacting indigenous communities in Cauca department. Political tensions further escalated after he acknowledged that a military operation, previously considered to be successful, actually led to the death of several minors. The operation happened in late-August in the town of San Vicente del Caguan, Caqueta department. It was launched just after former FARC Senator Ivan Marquez issued a call to arms. He claimed that neither him nor the military were aware of the minors' presence in the area.

Defense minister under pressure for death of minors during operation in Caqueta

Defense Minister Guillermo Botero has acknowledged to the Senate that seven minors were killed during a military operation in Caqueta, southern Colombia. In what was described as a successful operation against FARC dissidents based in San Vicente del Caguan, Botero has confirmed that the minors were killed but defended that the military did not know about their presence in the area. The operation happened in late-August just after former FARC Senator Ivan Marquez issued a call to arms. Such prompted President Ivan Duque to assign a special military unit to hunt down dissident leaders. Botero is under extreme pressure to leave his office for failing to address violence in Colombia. He is set to face a no-confidence vote in parliament.

Prosecutors to question lawyer of former President Uribe

Colombian prosecutors will question the lawyer of former President Alvaro Uribe amid investigations into a witness tampering case. Diego Cadena was previously questioned by the Colombian Supreme Court for allegedly making bribery payments to modify testimonies against the former president. Uribe is accused of collusion with paramilitary groups in Antioquia during his time as president. At the centre of the case is the testimony of a former paramilitary leader know as Juan Guillermo Monsalve, who claimed that Cadena made an attempt to bribe him to change his previous statements.

President Duque announces new social plan amid violence in Cauca

President Ivan Duque has announced a new package of social policies after a wave of violence engulfed Cauca, south-western Colombia. In less than a week, at least a dozen people have been killed across the department, where several of those cases being related to indigenous communities. President Duque has said that he is currently working on a social plan that will be coordinated by the country's high commissioner for peace, Miguel Ceballos. Among the areas to benefit are education, entrepreneurship, food safety, infrastructure and indigenous affairs. In the light of the violence in Cauca, Defense Minister Guillermo Botero is set to face a no-confidence vote for mishandling security issues in the region; Botero survived a previous vote back in June.

Several attacks reported amid wave of violence in Corinto, Cauca

Several attacks have been reported in a fresh wave of violence across the south-western town of Corinto, Cauca. El Pais has reported that a member of the local indigenous community was shot dead during an armed attack on Sunday. The incident happened almost at the same time that two other people were targeted.  At least three attacks were confirmed in the area, which has been facing several incidents of violence against indigenous communities. Some of the incidents happened in the Tacueyo area, where last week an indigenous governor and several guards were gunned down. FARC dissidents are accused of involvement in most of the violence in Corinto; however, investigations are still ongoing. The incidents happened despite a major military deployment in the region.

Thousands affected due to flash flooding in Apartado, Antioquia

A state of emergency has been declared after heavy rainfall triggered flash flooding in the town of Apartado, Antioquia. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), nearly 8,000 people have been affected across more than a dozen neighbourhoods located near the San Jose River. No casualties have been reported. Landslides and flooding are common during the region's rainy season, which started in September.

Several found dead in fresh violent incident in Corinto, Cauca

At least five people have been killed in another violent incident reported in northern Cauca. Local media reported that four bodies were found on the main road between Corinto and the rural area of Santa Elena, while another body was recovered in the town of Caloto. The incidents came just days after an indigenous governor and four guards were gunned down in Corinto. Indigenous groups have confirmed that the victims were not part of their community. Defense Minister Guillermo Botero has condemned the incidents and is heading to Cauca, where more than 2,500 soldiers were recently deployed.

Government signs agreement to extend OHCHR mandate

Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo has signed an agreement to grant a three-year extension to the mandate of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Colombia. Trujillo signed the documents in a meeting with OHCHR's chief Michelle Bachelet in Geneva. The deal, which will ensure the guarantees of the peace deal of the FARC and the promotion of human rights in Colombia, could also face new extensions. The agreement was signed after months of discussions on either to renew the OHCHR mandate. Concerns about the OHCHR future in Colombia was raised by former President Ernesto Samper, who warned the country's NGOs over allegations that the government was not willing to renew the mission's mandate.

Several killed in armed attack against indigenous leader in Corinto, Cauca

At least five people have been killed after an armed group targeted a local indigenous leader in Corinto, Cauca. El Pais reported that armed assailants left a vehicle and indiscriminately opened fire on the guards and the local indigenous governor Neehwesx Cristina Bautista. She was killed alongside four guards. Reports indicate that the attack happened after three suspects were detained by the indigenous guard. Authorities are currently investigating the potential involvement of a FARC dissident front that widely operates in the region. President Ivan Duque condemned the incident as has the UN and the Organization of American States (OAS). Members of local indigenous communities have been systematically targeted by militant groups engaged in drug-trafficking across the Cauca department. In mid-September, an indigenous soldier was killed after being targeted by criminals in Santander de Quilichao.

Ruling Democratic Centre suffers significant losses in local elections

Colombia's ruling Democratic Centre (CD) has suffered significant losses in the country's local elections held on Sunday. In Bogota, Claudia Lopez of the Green Alliance was elected the first female mayor in the capital. Lopez defeated the son of former President Luis Carlos Galan. Meanwhile, in Medellin, the capital of the department of Antioquia, CD's candidate Alfredo Ramos lost the vote to independentist Daniel Quintero. Antioquia had been a long-standing CD stronghold. The party is currently led by former President Alvaro Uribe, a close ally to President Ivan Duque. After the results were announced, Uribe recognised the poor results. Along with the election of mayors, voters also cast their ballots to elect the new governor of Colombia's 32 departments.

Government to close land and maritime borders ahead of local elections

Colombian authorities have announced that the country's land and maritime borders will be closed during the local elections. Migracion Colombia has announced that from Thursday, the border with Venezuela will be shut, while the land borders with Brazil, Ecuador and Peru will be closed on Saturday. The decision comes after a decree from the interior ministry. Millions of Colombians will head to the polls to elect mayors, governors, members of regional assemblies and municipal councils. Security will be reinforced in major cities. Police reinforcements will be sent to polling stations and other high-risk areas. Colombia's Electoral Observation Mission (MOE) has already warned that more than 300 municipalities are under threat of armed groups.

Radio host shot dead in armed raid in Llorente, Narino

A radio host has been killed after armed men raided his studio in Narino, south-western Colombia. Reports indicate that Javier Cordoba was working when he was targeted on Friday evening. Cordoba worked for the Planeta Stereo radio station and he was based in Llorente. Alongside condemnation from the Colombian Press Freedom Foundation (FLIP), the EU office in Colombia has also lamented the killing. Llorente is located in the rural area of Tumaco, where militant and paramilitary groups widely operate. Journalists and reporters working for community radios in rural areas in Colombia are often targeted.

Three indigenous leaders killed in several incidents across Colombia

Three indigenous community leaders have been killed across Colombia within a 24-hour period. According to Colombia's National Indigenous Organization (ONIC), two of the victims were killed in separate incidents in La Guajira. Another incident also led to the death of another indigenous leader based in Narino. Reports indicate that one of the victims was Oneida Epiayu, who had previously complained over corruption within a government-backed aid programme. Rights groups claim that over 230 indigenous leaders have been killed in Colombia since President Ivan Duque took office in August 2018.

Congress approve 2020 budget

Congress has approved the 2020 budget. With a significant 10 percent increase compared with the previous one, next year's budget will be set at 271.7bn pesos ($78.7bn). Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla told Congress that he is confident that the country will benefit from "strengthened public finances and a clear horizon for 2020". Education and pensions are among the sectors that will receive the most benefits as Colombia continues to recover from a deep economic downturn. The budget was approved moments after the Colombian Constitutional Court revoked highly debated fiscal legislation, which came into effect back in January. The legislation, which mainly addresses taxation on the business sector, will remain valid until the end of the year. The court ruling further pressures President Ivan Duque to find an alternative solution to secure additional revenue while maintaining competitive fiscal policies.

Offices of left-wing parties targeted in Bogota

The headquarters of three left-wing political parties in Colombia have been targeted in a series of attacks. The incidents happened last week in the Teusaquillo neighbourhood in Bogota. El Espectador reported that the offices of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Forces (FARC) were targeted alongside the shared headquarters of the Patriotic Union (UP) and the Colombian Communist Party (PCC). No injuries were reported. During an address in the Senate, FARC Senator Carlos Lozada called on the government to investigate the issue in order to find the suspects. Both incidents happened ahead of regional elections.

Ecopetrol announces oil discovery in Santander

Colombia's state-owned Ecopetrol has announced the discovery of oil reserves in the northern department of Santander. In a statement, the company confirmed that the discovery was made at the Flamencos-1 well near Puerto Wilches. Reuters reported that the area is part of the Magdalena Medio concession, which is entirely owned by Ecopetrol. The government plans to significantly increase the country's oil reserves within the next decade.

Minor injured by landmine in San Calixto, Norte de Santander

A seven-year-old has been injured after stepping on an anti-personal landmine in San Calixto, Norte de Santander. El Colombiano reported that the incident happened on Monday afternoon in the area of San Ignacio. Authorities have attributed the device to a front of the National Liberation Army (ELN). According to the military, the victim was playing in the area when he stepped into the device. Official reports indicate that more than 70 incidents involving landmines have been reported across Colombia this year. Some areas are still affected by this phenomenon despite nationwide clearing up efforts.

FAO assisting governments to tackle fungus affecting banana plantations

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is currently assisting governments in Central and South America to contain a fungus affecting banana plantations in the region. Back in July, Colombian authorities have issued a sanitary alert over the potential infection of a large plantation in La Guajira. The fungus is the Fusarium R4T, which according to health experts, is highly contagious and could harm the soil for decades. It has already affected several countries in south-east Asia, Africa and the Middle East, before arriving in the Americas. It is estimated that over 150 hectares of plantation have so far been affected, while the government has already launched contingency measures. Although the R4T does not pose a health hazard to humans, it can cause catastrophic economic damage to a country's economy. Bananas and plantains are among the main products exported by Colombia.

Dozens displaced due to increasing militant presence in Solano, Caqueta

Dozens of families have been forced to leave their homes due to increasing militant presence in the rural areas of Solano, Caqueta. According to the UN Office for the Coordinational of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a rising number of members of a local indigenous community have been displaced since the death of a governor in late-September. Those affected have travelled towards the neighbouring department of Putumayo, near the Ecuadorian border. Meanwhile, in the north-western Choco department, OCHA has confirmed that dozens of families have also been displaced due to intimidation. Militants and paramilitary groups widely operate in the rural areas of both Choco and Putumayo departments.

University students to launch nationwide strike action

University students are expected to launch a nationwide strike on Thursday. Demonstrators will take to the streets across Bogota and major departmental capitals to demand more funding for research and the improvement of education infrastructure. Although the protest has been called by the National Higher Education Students Union (Unees), other student-led organisations are also expected to join in. Travel disruption is expected across central areas in major cities, while public transport may be impacted. Student-led demonstrations are often peaceful, but tensions may escalate without prior warning.

FARC political party formally expels dissident leaders

Colombia's Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) has announced that FARC dissident leaders that have recently decided to take up arms were formally expelled from the party. Among them is Ivan Marquez, Jesus Santrich, El Paisa and several others that featured in a video made public in August. The party said that after they failed to testify before the party's ethical committee, their expulsion was decided over assumptions of their commitment to abandon the peace process and violation of the party's directives. FARC has reiterated that a large majority of its former members are still adhering to the guidelines of the peace deal.

Former President Uribe to face trial over witness tampering charges

Former President Alvaro Uribe has been formally charged for witness tampering. Uribe appeared before the Supreme Court on Tuesday to testify over allegations linked to the manipulation of testimonies of several paramilitary soldiers. The case is related to a previous complaint made in 2012 when Uribe accused leftist senator Ivan Cepeda of offering paramilitary soldiers judicial benefits if they agreed to link Uribe with paramilitary entities. Uribe was president between 2002 and 2010, during the height of the counter-insurgency campaign against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). He is currently a senator for the Democratic Center (CD). He is considered a close ally and mentor of President Ivan Duque.

Soldier killed in armed ambush in Arauca

A soldier has been killed during an armed attack against the military in the rural area of Arauca, north-eastern Colombia. Reports indicate that the incident happened when soldiers were escorting workers clearing up an area in La Pesquera after a bomb attack on the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline. A worker was also injured during the ambush. Authorities are still investigating which group is behind the attack. The Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline is often targeted by FARC dissidents and members of the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Bogota's former mayor sentenced to additional 30 years for corruption

Bogota's former Mayor Samuel Moreno has been sentenced to an additional 30 years in prison for his involvement in a massive corruption scandal. Rojas is accused of brokering fraudulent contracts in the construction of a public transportation project in the capital. This is the third conviction against Rojas. He had already been convicted for 24 and 39 years for two other corruption cases that also involved his brother. Rojas was the mayor of Bogota between 2008 and 2011. He was a member of the left-wing Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA), although he was expelled from the party in 2011.

Former President Uribe to testify before Supreme Court

Former President Alvaro Uribe is expected to testify before the Supreme Court of Justice over his alleged involvement with paramilitarism. Uribe and his lawyer are accused of manipulating testimonies of several paramilitary soldiers. The case dates back to 2012 when Uribe accused a leftist senator of doing the same. However, the case backfired after recordings of conversations between him and his lawyer emerged years later. This is the first president in Colombian history to face a Supreme Court trial. Uribe, a member of the ruling Democratic Centre (CD), was the Colombian president between 2002 and 2010. He ruled Colombia during the most intense years of fighting against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). He is considered one of the mentors of President Ivan Duque. Judges have changed the venue of the hearing after CD supporters called for a major demonstration in Bogota. Demonstrators are expected to gather around the Palace of Justice in the capital. People are advised to avoid the area as the protest may turn violent.

Bomb attack strikes oil pipeline in Orito, Putumayo

Colombia's state-owned Ecopetrol has said that a section of the Transandino pipeline has been targeted in a fresh bomb attack. According to the company, the attack happened in the town of Orito in the southern department of Putumayo. Ecopetrol has said that contingency plans have been launched to avoid a further spillage on the Guamuez River. Although no claims of responsibility were issued, authorities are attributing the attack to a dissident FARC front. FARC dissidents and militants of the National Liberation Army (ELN) often launch bomb attacks against oil pipelines across Colombia.

Jailed congresswoman escape prison in Bogota

A jailed congresswoman has escaped from prison after attending a dental appointment in northern Bogota. Authorities are currently investigating the incident in which Aida Merlano fled a dental clinic in the Usaquen neighbourhood. Video footage of her escape shows that she headed to an unknown location after jumping onto the back of a waiting motorcycle. Merlano, a former member of the Conservative Party, was serving a 15-year prison sentence after using an elaborate scheme to buy votes in the 2018 general election. She was reported as the first-ever Colombian politician to be sentenced for vote-buying. Justice Minister Margarita Cabello has fired the head of the prison where Merlano was being held and ordered the suspension of eight staff members.

Priest found dead inside church in Villavicencio, Meta

A 53-year-old priest has been found dead during a presumed robbery attempt in Villavicencio, Meta. El Espectador reported that Jhony Ramos was found dead inside his church in the departmental capital. He was found with both his hands and feet tied. Catholic authorities in Colombia condemned the incident. It is still unclear who is behind the attack. Preliminary investigations suggest that the victim was the target of a robbery as he had previously organised a raffle to raise money to carry out restoration works in the church. Ramos is the second priest to be killed in Colombia since the start of 2019.

Head of military intelligence resigns over UN report

Colombia's head of military intelligence, General Oswaldo Pena, has resigned after he received criticism for giving false evidence on a UN report. Earlier this week, President Ivan Duque was accused of giving false evidence to the UN over the presence of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Venezuela. After President Duque published on social media a series of images from a report given to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, El Colombiano claimed that one of the images was part of an earlier news article published back in mid-2015. Despite the removal of Pena, the government supported their initial claims. Foreign Minister Carlos Trujillo said: “It’s just an issue of design and of giving credit at the foot of the photos. In consequence, we are going to update using the armed forces’ exclusive photos. What’s important is the grave threat of the Maduro regime to the peace and stability of Colombia (...) to the peace, the security and stability of the region". President Duque has frequently accused Venezuela and Cuba of housing ELN leaders and fugitives. 

Soldiers killed in bomb attack in Tibu, Norte de Santander

At least two soldiers have been killed and three others injured in a bomb attack in the town of Tibu, Norte de Santander. AFP reported that the attack happened on Saturday when a military convoy was targeted near the Venezuelan border. Authorities are attributing the attack to a front of the National Liberation Army (ELN) known as GAO. No claims of responsibility were made. The ELN and other paramilitary groups are known to operate along the border in the restive Catatumbo region. Security in the region significantly deteriorated since Colombia and Venezuela severed diplomatic relations.

President Duque accused of given UN false evidence of ELN presence in Venezuela

President Ivan Duque has been accused of giving false evidence over the presence of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Venezuela. After publishing on social media a series of images from a 128-page report given to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Medellin-based El Colombiano claimed that one of the images was part of an earlier news article published back in mid-2015. According to the newspaper, the image was taken during an investigation on ELN child-recruitment practices in the Colombian department of Cauca. For many years, the Colombian government has accused Venezuela of providing a safe-haven to militants part of the ELN. The group currently maintains a strong presence along the border with Venezuela.

Criminal leader killed in joint operation in Sardinata, Norte de Santander

The leader of the criminal group 'Los Pelusos' has been killed during a joint operation in Norte de Santander. Luis Antonio Quinceno, alias 'Pacora', was shot dead in the town of Sardinata, located in the restive Catatumbo region. Pacora has just recently become the leader of the group in central Catatumbo after his predecessors were either killed or detained. Pacora has been accused of links to drug trafficking, murder and kidnapping. Los Pelusos was created after the demobilisation of the People's Liberation Army (EPL). It is often engaged in territorial disputes with the National Liberation Army (ELN). In recent months, dissident fronts of the EPL have been engaged in internal divisions after some leaders reportedly reached an agreement with a rival criminal group.

Red Cross raises concerns over rise in landmine casualties across Colombia

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said that over 260 people were victims of landmines in Colombia between January and August. According to the ICRC, nearly half of the victims were civilians. In total, at least 16 of those victims died, while several were badly injured. The ICRC has raised concerns over the increasing numbers of casualties caused by landmines in Colombia, where since 2017 the number of victims has been on the rise. Despite de-mining efforts in several departments, landmines mostly planted during the past conflict with the FARC are still active in some rural areas.

Hundreds detained in large-scale operation in Narino

More than 200 people have been detained in a large-scale operation in the south-western department of Narino. Reports show that a two-week-long joint operation known as 'Escudo' led to the arrest of several people engaged in drug-trafficking, illegal mining and corruption. According to the government, dozens of FARC dissidents were detained alongside 12 members of a regional front of the National Liberation Army (ELN). Three local mayors were arrested for corruption for diverting development funds. Prosecutors claimed that alias 'Mincho', the alleged leader of the dissident Oliver Sinisterra front, is among those arrested. As well as the arrests, the authorities have confirmed that six tonnes of drugs were also seized. The operation comes after a series of violent incidents were reported in Narino. The department is significantly affected by militant and paramilitary groups engaged in drug-trafficking.

Several injured after student-led demonstration turns violent

At least five people have been injured during a student-led demonstration in Bogota. Protesters gathered across several campuses in central Bogota. Tensions escalated when protesters clashed with riot police officers. Reports have indicated that the injuries were caused after a low-scale blast happened inside a university building. Authorities believe that it may have been caused by a home-made device. Since President Ivan Duque took office, student-led protests became frequent. For several days, students have staged protests across Bogota after a former university director was accused of corruption.

Several injured in suspected bomb attack in Sardinata, Norte de Santander

More than a dozen people have been injured in a suspected grenade attack against a police station in Norte de Santander. Local police officials have said that unknown men threw an explosive device during a local festival in the town of Sardinata. The incident happened just hours before police officers were targeted in a shooting in the nearby town of Tibu. Authorities are currently investigating the potential involvement of FARC dissidents. Both towns are located in the restive region of Catatumbo, where militant and paramilitary groups widely operate.

Former FARC commander acknowledges kidnappings before special peace tribunal

The former leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Rodrigo Londono, has acknowledged the group's engagement in kidnapping during the country's long-standing conflict. In the first hearing at the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), Londono said: "We recognise the existence of civilian retentions and assume on behalf of the men and women who were part of the organization, our collective ethical and political responsibility for the damage caused to the people and families who were victims of this unfortunate practice." Kidnap was one of FARC's main tools initially used to pressure the government and later intended to finance their operations. In a document released on Monday, Colombia's Attorney General Fernando Carillo claimed that at least 522 people died while in FARC's captivity. The JEP was established in the aftermath of the FARC peace deal to deal with crimes committed during the conflict. The first hearing comes after several former FARC commanders, including Ivan Marquez and Jesus Santrich, created their own dissident movement.

Police investigate kidnapping of mayor's brother in Corinto, Cauca

Police are investigating the suspected kidnapping of the youngest brother of a local mayor in Cauca, south-western Colombia. A family member told El Pais that Cristian Garcia was taken after leaving his home in Corinto. Mayor Edward Garcia claimed that Cristian was facing no threats. However, he himself has been targeted by a number of threats and intimidation from criminal and militant groups. Local politicians are under extreme pressure ahead of the local elections in October. Violence has significantly increased after multiple attacks against regional and local candidates were reported across Colombia.

Mayoral candidate released after being kidnapped near Potosi, Narino

A mayoral candidate for the Radical Change (CR) party in Narino has been released after being kidnapped in the rural area of Potosi. In a statement released on social media, CR said that Oscar Lombana was released on Tuesday evening. El Espectador reported that he was kidnapped in the area of San Jorge when he went for a meeting in the rural community. It is claimed that FARC dissidents operate near the region where Lombana was kidnapped, but there is no indication that a militant group was involved in the case. Lombana is the latest local candidate to be targeted in serious incidents reported against mayoral contenders in Colombia. Several local and regional candidates have either been killed or attacked ahead of the elections in October.

Transandino pipeline targeted in bomb attack near Orito, Putumayo

Colombia's state-owned oil company Ecopetrol has denounced a bomb attack against an oil pipeline in the southern department of Putumayo. According to the company, the attack happened on Thursday in the rural area of El Libano in Orito, located near the border with Ecuador. Ecopetrol has said that the attack affected its Transandino pipeline, which is the main infrastructure used to transport oil from the jungle areas of Putumayo to the Pacific coast. It is claimed that in 2019, 18 attacks against the Transandino pipeline were recorded, with the latest being the first to de confirmed in Putumayo. Although it remains unclear who is involved in the attack, the region along the Ecuadorian border is known for the heavy presence of FARC dissident fronts.

UN report indicate increase in violence against civilians in Norte de Santander

A report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported a significant increase in the number of attacks against civilians in the restive department of Norte de Santander. Between January and June this year, over 300 attacks were confirmed in the region. Most incidents have been confirmed in Cucuta and other towns near the border, including Tibu and Sardinata. The report indicates that the hike is mainly attributed to territorial disputes between armed groups that operate along the Venezuelan border, including FARC dissidents, the National Liberation Army (ELN) and People's Liberation Army (EPL) - those are the groups that could be identified as over 85 percent of all the attacks were led by unknown entities.

Marine wounded in Arauca ambush

A marine has been wounded after a patrol came under fire in the Arauca department. The incident happened in the Los Guarataros neighbourhood where unknown assailants opened fire on the troops from a motorcycle. The marine was taken to the San Vicente de Arauca hospital for treatment.

President Duque pledges enhanced security to protect local candidates

President Ivan Duque has announced enhanced security measures to protect local and regional candidates running in the October elections. President Duque told reporters: “We have spoken today with all of the parties to strengthen protection measures, so the National Protection Unit (UNP) can respond with more speed to the requests (...). All of the requests for protection that have been received so far need to be up-to-date in the next 72 hours. We have also asked the parties to take general protection measures where they tell security forces about movements". The pledge came after another mayoral candidate was killed during an armed attack in Norte de Santander. It is estimated that at least seven candidates were killed ahead of the vote next month.

Mayoral candidate shot dead in Tibu, Norte de Santander

A local mayoral candidate for the northern town of Tibu has been gunned down in an armed attack ahead of the local and regional elections in October. El Espectador reported that Bernardo Betancourt was killed when he was targeted in the La Gabarra area on Sunday. Betancourt was running as a candidate for the Conservative Party and had previously served as mayor back in 2004. This is the most recent incident of violence that led to the death of a mayoral candidate in Colombia. Tibu is located Norte de Santander and is part of the Catabumbo region, where militant and paramilitary groups widely operate.

Investigations opened into Cali wildfires

Investigations have been opened after a surge in wildfires have been reported around several locations in Cali and across the Cauca Valley. In August, more than 200 wildfires have been reported in several forests and rural areas around the city, with most of them believed to be intentional. The emergency services continue to tackle wildfires which are still breaking out on several hills and in mountainous areas in the rural region. A significant increase in wildfires in south-western Colombia is mainly attributed to lack of rainfall and foul play during the second drought season which started back in June.

Several killed in plane crash in Popayan, Cauca

At least seven people have been killed when a light aircraft crashed into a house in Popayan, Cauca. EFE reported that the PA-31 aircraft operated by the regional airline Transpacifico crashed on Sunday after taking off from the Guillermo Leon Valencia Airport in the departmental capital. Colombia's Civil Aviation Authority is still investigating the accident, which happened in the Junin area. The flight was heading towards the coastal town of Lopez de Micay. 

Authorities recover bodies of missing fishermen in Yondo, Antioquia

The authorities have recovered the bodies of four fishermen have were reported missing earlier this week near Yondo, Antioquia. Local media reported that the victims were beaten to death and found on the bank of Magdalena River in southern Bolivar. It is still unclear who is behind the attack, while investigations were launched to assess the motives behind the incident. Militant groups such as the National Liberation Army (ELN) are known for operating in Yondo.

Indigenous soldier killed in armed attack in Cauca

A soldier based at an indigenous community in Cauca, south-western Colombia, has been shot dead. El Espectador reported that the 19-year-old soldier was off duty when two criminals on a motorcycle targeted his in the Canoas community in Santander de Quilichao. It is still unclear if the victim was targeted for his military background. Santander de Quilichao is situated near the town of Caloto, where three indigenous guards were killed last month. Members of local indigenous communities have been systematically targeted by militant groups engaged in drug-trafficking across the Cauca department.

Mayoral candidate killed in targeted shooting in Toledo, Antioquia

A mayoral candidate has been shot dead during a political rally in the rural area of Toledo, Antioquia. Orley Garcia was running as a candidate for the ruling Democratic Center (CD) for the town of Toledo. Reports indicate that he was taking part in a political event when a suspect opened fire from the bushes. Authorities are investigating if Garcia's death is related to his political background or a retaliation. Several local and regional candidates have been already killed or targeted while campaigning ahead of the local elections in late-October. Last week, another mayoral candidate was killed in Suarez, Cauca.

Colombia put on high alert ahead of military exercises in Venezuela

Colombia has been put on high alert after Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro announced a series of military exercises along the border. A presidential aide for foreign affairs, Francisco Barbosa, confirmed that the entire territory is on the highest alert ahead of the military drills, which kick off on Tuesday and last until 28 September. President Maduro has confirmed the deployment of 3,000 troops along the border with Colombia. They will take part in exercises in the bordering states of Apure, Zulia, Tachira and Amazonas. An alert has also been previously issued in Venezuela ahead of the exercises. Tensions along the border have increased since a dissident commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Ivan Marquez, issued a call for arms.

Indigenous communities trapped due to armed clashes in Antioquia

Intense clashes between rival armed groups have trapped more than 4,000 indigenous people living in the rural area of Antioquia. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in the last week of August, several indigenous communities were trapped and prevented from leaving some designated areas in the towns of Murindo, Frontino, Urrao and Dabeiba. Families were further prevented from heading to school or seeking medical attention. In addition to the armed conflict, communities have also been threatened by anti-personanel landmines. Some rural regions in northern Antioquia suffer from the presence of militant and paramilitary groups engaged in drug-trafficking, including FARC dissident fronts and the Clan del Golfo.

Mayoral candidate's house targeted with explosives in San Calixto, Norte de Santander

The residence of a local mayoral candidate has been targeted with explosives in San Calixto, Norte de Santander. EFE reported that the house of Betsaida Montejo Perez was attacked on Tuesday evening. No casualties were reported. Reports suggest that Perez's parents were inside the house. Local media claimed that unknown assailants graffitied the residence walls with a message allusive to the demobilised People's Liberation Army (EPL). San Calixto is located in the restive Catatumbo region, where paramilitary and militant groups widely operate. The incident comes days after another mayoral candidate was killed during a violent armed ambush in Suarez, Antioquia. Colombia is facing its local and regional elections in October.

Dissident FARC leader announces new political movement

Dissident FARC leader Ivan Marquez has announced the launching of a new political movement just days after issuing a call to arms. Marquez said in a 12-minute video that the Movimiento Bolivariano por la Nueva Colombia (MBNC) will operate clandestinely. The MBNC was first referred to in 2000 after the dialogue between the government and the former FARC leadership collapsed. He said that the revamped movement will mainly address social issues, including land rights. It is still too early to say what impact the newly established FARC dissident front may have on the peace agreement. Besides Marquez, several other former FARC commanders, including Jesus Santrich, have joined the cause against the Colombian oligarchy and political system.

Businessman kidnapped while cycling near Popayan, Cauca

A prominent businessman has been kidnapped along the Panamericana Highway in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Local media reported that Harold Bermudez was taken while cycling with his friends on the road between Santander del Quillichao and Popayan. Bermudez is a well-known businessman in Cali. He was the former owner of a betting company based in Santander del Quillichao. At least three people have recently been kidnapped across Cauca.

Soldiers killed in armed ambush in Caucasia, Antioquia

Four soldiers have been killed and two others have been injured in an armed ambush in Caucasia, Antioquia. According to the military, soldiers were deployed to the rural area of El Toro after they received reports of a crossfire between members of the Clan del Golfo and another criminal group. Reports indicate that the soldiers were attacked just after arriving at the scene. Caucasia is located in the restive Bajo Cauca region, where the Clan del Goldo widely operate. Clashes in the region - which also include the towns of El Bagre, Nechi, Taraza, Caceres and Zaragoza - are common over the control of strategic drug-trafficking routes.

Venezuela's Maduro declares alert along the Colombian border

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has declared a so-called 'orange alert' on the border with Colombia amid escalating diplomatic tensions. During an address to soldiers on Tuesday evening, President Maduro also confirmed that between 10 and 28 September military exercises will take place in the bordering states of Apure, Amazonas, Tachira and Zulia. He claimed that the move comes to preserve security and peace over a future threat posed by Colombia. He also put the military on alert as a result of the recent announcement made by former leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Both countries have previously traded accusations over military incursions on each other's territory and for endorsing Colombian militant groups. Travel to the border with Venezuela should be made with extreme caution.

Mayoral candidate killed in armed ambush near Suarez, Cauca

A mayoral candidate has been gunned down alongside five other people during an armed ambush near Suarez, Cauca. Karina Garcia was the candidate for the Liberal Party. Her armoured vehicle was targeted when heavily armed criminals ambushed it on Sunday afternoon. Her mother and four other people - including another local candidate - were among the victims. The vehicle was sprayed with bullets and set on fire. The incident was condemned by the government and the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, while it is still unclear who or which group is behind the attack. However, Colombia's Peace Commissioner Miguel Ceballos claimed that a FARC dissident, alias 'Mayinbu', is behind the attack. Garcia had released a statement several weeks ago claiming that she had been the target of death threats. Besides FARC dissidents, paramilitary and militant groups also operate in the region. Colombia is facing its local and regional elections in October. According to reports, at least five candidates have been killed since campaigning started last month.

Firefighters deployed to tackle wildfire at forest reserve near Barranquilla

Dozens of firefighters have been deployed to the Isla de Salamanca Park after a wildfire broke out on Sunday. According to Colombia's National Natural Parks, the fire is currently active in a rural area between La Palera and El Meano. Firefighting efforts are being compromised as the area is of difficult access. The Isla de Salamanca Park is an environmental reserve located east of Barranquilla. Authorities are investigating if the fire was intentional. Last month, the Colombian Navy confirmed that over 105,000 hectares of land has been consumed in Colombia so far this year mostly due to intense heat.

President Duque to assign special unit to hunt down former FARC commanders

President Ivan Duque has said that he is assigning a special military unit to hunt down dissident FARC commanders. President Duque said: "Colombians must be clear that we are not facing a new guerrilla, but facing the criminal threats of a gang of narco-terrorists who have the shelter and support of the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro". The order comes in response to a video released on Thursday, where former FARC commander Ivan Marquez featured alongside Jesus Santrich and Hernan Velasquez. Marquez issued a call to arms after he accuses the Colombian government of failing to address issues predicted under the 2016 FARC peace agreement. Just after the video was made public, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) issued an arrest warrant to Marquez and his group. Marquez has refused to be sworn in as a Senator and fled to an undisclosed location several months ago.

Former FARC commander issues call to arms

Ivan Marquez, the former commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), has featured in a video issuing a call to arms. In a 32-minute video released on Thursday, Marquez accused the government of not fulfilling the guidelines of the FARC peace deal signed in 2016. He was also critic to the killing of former FARC rebels and social leaders. He said that the second part of the insurgency has been launched. Marquez highlighted that it is not intended against soldiers or the police, but against the Colombian oligarchy. He reiterated plans to join forces with the National Liberation Army (ELN), which is currently the country's largest guerrilla group. Marquez featured in the video alongside Jesus Santrich and Hernan Velasquez, two former senior members of the FARC. He went missing for several months after he renounced his seat as a senator. In the video, he claims to be in a jungle area near the Brazilian and Venezuelan border. Although the FARC has demobilised, several dissident fronts still widely operate across the country.

Clan del Golfo's chief of finance detained in joint operation

The chief of finance of the infamous Clan del Golfo paramilitary group has been detained during a joint operation. In a press conference, President Ivan Duque confirmed that Carlos Mario Usuga David was captured. Carlos Mario is the brother of the group's leader, Dairo Antonio Usuga David, alias 'Otoniel'. No details about the operation were released. President Duque has stepped up efforts to counter the Clan del Golfo, the largest criminal group in Colombia. Several of Otoniel's brothers have already been detained in previous operations. The Clan del Golfo mainly operates in the Uraba region in northern Colombia, where it is often engaged in violent disputes against militant and dissident groups to control strategic drug-trafficking and illegal mining territory.

Several killed in armed attack in Manizales, Caldas

At least five people have been killed following a presumed armed attack in Manizales, Caldas. Police confirmed that the victims were camping in the Llanogrande area between Manizales and Neira. Local authorities said that most victims were workers of a local nightclub. Manizales Police Commander Sandra Hernandez said that investigations have been launched on a potential retaliation involving rival criminal groups engaged in drug-trafficking.

Hundreds of soldiers to be deployed amid violence wave in Cauca

Defence Minister Guillermo Botero has announced the deployment of over 450 soldiers to the south-western department of Cauca. During a meeting with local and regional authorities in the department capital Popayan, the government decided to launch a new plan to enhance security measures in the region. In recent months, Cauca has faced a wave of violence linked to militant groups, such as FARC dissidents and members of the National Liberation Army (ELN), who are believed to be behind violent clashes that already affected hundreds in some rural areas. Armed confrontation involving the military has also become frequent. Indigenous groups have previously raised concerns of violence in Cauca after three members of an indigenous guard were shot dead.

Soldier shot dead during clashes with militants in Bolivar

A 31-year-old soldier has been killed during clashes with militants in Bolivar, northern Colombia. According to the National Army, Evis Lopez Rivera was shot dead while patrolling the rural area of Mina Proyecto in Arenal del Sur. Two other soldiers were also injured in the attack and were taken to the hospital in stable condition. President Ivan Duque condemned the incident and accused the National Liberation Army (ELN) of being behind it. Militant and paramilitary groups widely operate in southern Bolivar. The incident came days after a social leader was found dead on a river in San Jacinto del Cauca.

ELN release indigenous hostages in Narino

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has released three indigenous women in a rural area in Narino, south-western Colombia. In a statement, the International Federal of the Red Cross in Colombia (CICR) confirmed that they facilitated the release of the hostages. They confirmed that all hostages were in good health and that they encourage the parts involved to engage in further humanitarian action. Colombia's Public Ombudsman said that the women were members of the Awa community in El Sande. The ELN still operates in varying levels across Colombia. Peace negotiations between the ground and the Colombian government are currently suspended since the ELN leadership rejected calls to cease kidnappings and other operations.

OAS monitoring mission caught in crossfire near Suarez, Cauca

A peace monitoring team of the Organization of American States (OAS) has been caught in a crossfire between soldiers and a militant group in Cauca, south-western Colombia. According to Colombia's Public Ombudsman, clashes broke out on Thursday afternoon in the Bellavista sector in Suarez. Monitoring teams of the OAS and the Colombian government were heading to El Naranjal, Bajo la Esmeralda, Los Mangos and Bellavista to assist people in need of humanitarian aid. Reports suggest that a front of the National Liberation Army (ELN) was involved in the shooting. No casualties were reported. Militant and dissident groups widely operate across Cauca. Last week, indigenous guards were shot dead in an armed attack near Caloto.

Social leader found dead in a river in Bolivar

A social leader has been found dead in a river in Bolivar, northern Colombia. Reports suggest that Luis Caldera Villamizar was found with his hands tied and with signs of torture on the shore of the Cauca River in San Jacinto del Cauca. Villamizar had intended to run for a seat in the local council as a candidate for the Social Party of National Unity. He was reported missing last week. Local authorities condemned the incident and ordered an investigation. Hundreds of social leaders have been killed in Colombia since the government signed the peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Major tunnel officially inaugurated in Medellin, Antioquia

After three years, the Colombian government has officially announced the inauguration of the longest tunnel in South America. The Tunel de Oriente is an 8.2-kilometre-long tunnel part of a major infrastructure project launched in Medellin, Antioquia, that will include nearly 24 kilometres of roads, bridges and overpasses. Authorities claim that the project intends to relieve traffic between the city and the Valle de San Nicolas. Journeys between Medellin and the Jose Maria Cordova International Airport will also be shorter. Another tunnel with nearly 10 kilometres in length is expected to be inaugurated in 2022.

Fresh bomb attack hits Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline near Arauquita, Arauca

A fresh bomb attack has targeted the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline in the northern department of Arauca. State-owned oil company Ecopetrol has confirmed that the attack happened on Saturday in the Las Bancas area near the bordering town of Arauquita. No major consequences were initially reported. According to Ecopetrol, more than 25 attacks against the pipeline was already reported this year. It is still unclear which group is behind the attack. Paramilitary and militant groups operating along the Venezuelan border often claim responsibility for targeting the Cano Limon-Covenas.

Indigenous guards shot dead in armed ambush near Caloto, Cauca

At least three members of a local indigenous guard have been killed during an armed ambush in Cauca, south-western Colombia. El Espectador reported that the attack happened on Saturday between the towns of Caloto and Toribio, where indigenous groups were heading to attend a coffee fair. Five people have been also injured in the attack. Colombia's Ombudsman accused dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) of being behind the attack. Just after the incident, Colombia's National Indigenous Organisation (ONIC) said that indigenous communities in Cauca received death threats from criminals claiming to be members of the Mexican-based Sinaloa Cartel. Local indigenous groups have previously claimed to have received threats. For years, reports of the presence of Mexican cartels in Colombia became common after several alleged cartel members were detained in the country. However, according to InSight Crime, Mexican cartel members are mainly involved in operational features on monitoring drug shipments and production.

HRW raises concerns over violence against civilians in Catatumbo region

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has raised concerns over the ongoing humanitarian situation in the restive Catatumbo region in northern Colombia. In a report released on Thursday, HRW concluded that violence against civilians is still widely reported since the peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016. FARC dissidents, member of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and other paramilitary entities continue to operate in the region to control drug-trafficking and smuggling routes. Catatumbo is located in the Norte de Santander department and is mainly comprised of the villages of Convencion, El Carmen, El Tarra, Hacari, La Playa, San Calixto, Sardinata, Teorama and Tibu. Some still include Abrego and Ocana as part of the region.

Government to give one-year extension to FARC special reincorporation zones

Colombia's government has agreed to a one-year extension for the Capacitation and Reincorporation Territorial Areas (ETCRs), which houses demobilised militants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In total, all 24 ETCRs will still be operational until 2020. The decision came after the central government reached a consensus with the local administrations from where the ETCRs are based. The extension comes as the government attempts to purchase lands and terrains to gradually relocate those camps in order to further integrate demobilised FARC militants into civilian society. The ETCRs are located across Colombia and were created in the aftermath of the FARC peace deal. They are estimated to currently house up to 3,500 people.

Children of Venezuelan migrants to be granted Colombian nationality

President Ivan Duque is set to sign a decree that will allow the children of Venezuelan migrants to be granted with Colombian nationality. It is estimated that more than 24,000 children will benefit from the move, which seeks to address the long-standing concern over statelessness amongst Venezuelan children born in Colombian territory. According to the Colombian constitution, Colombian nationality are given to those whose either parents are of Colombian heritage or to" the children of a Colombian father or mother born abroad who have later established their domicile in the Colombian territory or registered in a consular office of the Republic". According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over 870,000 Venezuelans were in Colombia in 2018.

Local indigenous leader killed in Toribio, Cauca

A local indigenous leader has been gunned down during an armed attack in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Ernesto Guejia Meza was shot dead on Sunday when armed criminals targeted him in the rural area of Toribio. Local media reported that Guejia Meza was well known in the local community. This is the third incident against social leaders to be reported in Cauca in less than four days. Days before Guejia Meza's death, two other social leaders were killed in Corinto and Caloto. Rights groups claim that the surge in targeted killings against social leaders is linked to paramilitary and militant groups based in Cauca. According to the local Ombudsman office, over 460 social leaders were killed in Colombia since the FARC peace deal was signed in 2016.

Oil storage tanks set on fire in Arauquita, Arauca

Four oil storage tanks have been set on fire during a protest in Arauca, northern Colombia. State-owned oil company Ecopetrol said in a statement that on the early hours of Monday morning, unidentified individuals set on fire the storage tanks in the Las Acacias neighbourhood in Arauquita, near the Venezuelan border. Emergency services were reportedly blocked from responding to the incident due to roadblocks. Ecopetrol said that the tanks are part of contingency measures during repair works in the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline, which has been targeted in at least 25 occasions so far in 2019.

Colombia becomes deadliest country to land defenders in the Americas

A report published by Global Witness concluded that Colombia has become the deadliest country in the Americas for land and environmental defenders. According to the rights group, in 2018, 24 land and environmental defenders were killed in Colombia. Colombia became the top country in Latin America after surpassing Brazil, where 20 environmentalists were killed in the same period. The study shows that from 164 environmental defenders killed worldwide, most of them died over disputes with the mining and extraction industries. Since the peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), indigenous leaders and environmentalists have been systematically targeted by paramilitary and militant groups in Colombia.

Nicolas Maduro says that FARC leaders are welcome in Venezuela

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has said that two missing former FARC commanders are welcome in Venezuela. During a speech in the Sao Paulo Forum, which counted with the presence of several left-wing leaders from Latin America, he said that both Ivan Marquez and Jesus Santrich are welcome in the country. Marquez, whose real name is Luciano Marin, went missing last year just after Santrich was charged in the US with drug-trafficking. Santrich's whereabouts are unknown since he failed to obey a court summon earlier this month. Previously, President Ivan Duque claimed that Santrich had fled to Venezuela. President Maduro has been often accused of harbouring fugitive FARC dissidents and members of the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Flight delays expected due to capacity issues at El Dorado airport

Colombia's Civil Aviation Authority (AeroCivil) has said on Friday afternoon that some flights to and from Bogota's El Dorado International Airport (BOG) may be affected due to capacity issues. AeroCivil said that due to intense air traffic around the Colombian capital, some flights may be delayed or changed. Disruption is expected to last throughout the day. Passengers are advised to contact their respective airlines for further flight status updates. 

Venezuela's Maduro calls on the Colombian military to disobey orders against Venezuela

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has called on the Colombian military to disobey orders issued against Venezuela. In a state television broadcast, President Maduro said: "To the armed forces of Colombia, let us unite in one sole military force in the spirit of the great fatherland to unite our peoples in peace, to reject gringo military bases in Colombia, to reject plans for military aggression against Venezuela". He added: “To the armed forces of Colombia, who receive daily orders to conspire against Venezuela’s peace: Disobey orders to disrupt Venezuela’s peace." Diplomatic relations between Colombia and Venezuela have significantly deteriorated in recent years. Both parts often trade accusations over alleged military incursions along their shared border. Additionally, on multiple occasions, the Colombian government has accused Venezuela of harbouring factions of the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Eight criminals accused of killing social leaders detained in Colombia

Colombia's Defence Minister Guillermo Botero has confirmed that eight of the country's most wanted criminals have been arrested. In January, President Ivan Duque released a list of Colombia's 31 most wanted criminals believed to be behind the systematic death of social leaders. Among them are alias 'Gabino' and 'Pablito' of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and alias 'Otoniel', the leader of the Clan del Golfo. Social groups estimate that over 450 social leaders were killed in the country since the government signed the peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Suspected militants block major highway in Antioquia

Several vehicles have been reportedly set on fire during a presumed militant blockade along a major route in Antioquia, northern Colombia. The Colombian military said in a statement that nearly 20 vehicles travelling along Ruta Nacional 25 (RN25), between Puerto Valdivia and Yaroumal, were targeted on Sunday evening. The military claimed that presumed members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) set several vehicles ablaze. RN25 is the main road from Medellin to Barranquilla. It also connects Antioquia to the Atlantic coast. Incidents in the area are mainly attributed to an ongoing territorial dispute between the ELN and paramilitary groups, such as the Clan del Golfo. Tensions have intensified since the government signed the FARC peace deal.

Local lawyer shot dead in armed attack in Floridablanca, Santander

A local lawyer and political leader has been shot dead in an armed attack in Santander, northern Colombia. Yamile Guerra was shot dead on Saturday afternoon in the town of Floridablanca. Local media reported that Guerra was managing a local land dispute, where she was working with the local campesino community to retrieve illegally occupied lands. Governor Didier Tavera condemned her assassination and said that investigations are ongoing.

Police officer shot dead in armed ambush in Aguachica, Cesar

A police officer has been shot dead and another was injured after an armed attack in Cesar, northern Colombia. El Espectador reported that the officers were leading a pursuit when they were ambushed in the southern town of Aguachica. Authorities said that the pursuit happened just after a police patrol responded to a suspected robbery attempt. Paramilitary groups engaged in drug-trafficking widely operate in Aguachica. The National Liberation Army (ELN) is also known to be present in the region. Both are often engaged in territorial disputes. It is still unclear which group is behind the attack.

Court upholds ban on aerial fumigation in Colombia

Colombia's Constitutional Court has upheld a ban on the use of glyphosate in aerial fumigation to eradicate coca plantations across Colombia. In a rule announced on Thursday, the court said that it will be up to the National Narcotics Council to move forward with the decision to resume the practice, which was banned back in 2015. The court ruling called on the government to carry out studies and gather other scientific evidence on methods that would lower the risk to the population. The ban came after the World Health Organization (WHO) linked the chemical with cancer. In addition to the council's decision and the guarantee that guidelines on a 2017 ruling will be followed, a local survey should be carried out with a local community committee. President Ivan Duque has been pushing to resume aerial fumigation as he claims that this is the most effective way to address a significant increase in coca crops in Colombia.

Demobilised FARC militant killed in Ituango, Antioquia

A 23-year-old demobilised FARC militant has been killed during an armed attack in Ituango, Antioquia. According to local media, the victim was shot dead when gunmen targeted him later on Wednesday evening. Notimerica reported that Jose Chavarria was currently based in the Capacitation and Reincorporation Territorial Area (ETCR) in Santa Lucia. FARC Senator Sandra Ramirez condemned the attack and called on the government to reinforce their guarantees over the peace deals signed in 2016. Since the peace agreement was signed it is estimated that 140 former FARC members were killed.

ELN announces 72-hour blockade in Narino

Members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) have reportedly declared a 72-hour blockade in the south-western department of Narino. Local media reported that ELN militants delivered leaflets and other materials announcing the measure, which is expected to last until Thursday. A roadblock overnight on Tuesday led to the deployment of the military after a suspected car bomb was placed along the main route between Pasto and Tumaco. Other roadblocks have also been reported across Narino. The group claims that the blockades come to commemorate the guerilla's 55th anniversary. ELN operations in the region are mostly linked to drug-trafficking. The group is often engaged in territorial disputes with other paramilitary and militant entities. The ELN has previously launched armed blockades in Colombia to pressure the government to resume peace talks, which have been stalled since last year.

Alert issued over potential fungus in banana plantations in La Guajira

A sanitary alert has been issued in Colombia after the government ordered 150 hectares of banana plantations to be quarantined. Reuters reported that the order was issued after the suspected contamination of Fusarium R4T fungus in the northern department of La Guajira. Several farms have been isolated as a result, while further investigations have been launched. The government said that Fusarium R4T may lead to the so-called 'Panama Disease', which may affect some specific plantations and impact soil for up to 30 years. The measure is preventative and will ensure that additional customs checks are carried out at border posts and major import hubs. Authorities confirmed that the fungus is not harmful to the general public. Major concerns have been drawn over the potential spread of the fungus, which may completely destroy banana crops if not contained. Colombia is the world's fourth-largest banana exporter.

Reward offered for capture of missing FARC congressman

Colombia's National Police is currently offering a reward for information on the whereabouts of congressman Seuxis Paucias Hernandez, alias 'Jesus Santrich', who has been missing since last month. National Police Director General Oscar Atehortua said that a red notice has been issued by the Interpol to locate Santrich. President Ivan Duque previously said that he believes that Santrich had fled the country. Santrich has been accused of drug trafficking pending extradition to the US. He was housed at a Capacitation and Reincorporation Territorial Area (ETCR) in Tierra Grata, near the Venezuelan border. The police are offering up to three billion pesos (around $930k) for information leading to his arrest. It is one of the highest rewards currently being offered in Colombia.

Soldiers killed in armed ambush near Cumbitara, Narino

At least five soldiers have been killed after an armed ambush in Narino, south-western Colombia. EFE reported that soldiers were patrolling an area near Cumbitara when they were targeted. Government officials attributed the attack on a dissident FARC front based in the region. Governor Camilo Romero condemned the attack and raised concerns over successive attacks against the security forces and community leaders. According to El Pais, the military vehicle was targeted with heavy weaponry and explosives while passing through the Santa Rosa area. A number of militant and paramilitary groups operate across Narino. For decades, the region has been labelled as a strategic drug-trafficking area due to its relative isolation and access to the Pacific.

Several military officers arrested due to alleged corruption

A dozen military officers have been detained as prosecutors launch a corruption purge within the Colombian army. According to prosecutors, the officers are accused of requesting money and other benefits to transfer soldiers from one post to another. The case unfolded after three generals were removed due to corruption. In one case, Defence Minister Guillermo Botero said that General Jorge Romero is accused of embezzling up to $300k. Besides Romero, the army's second in command, General Adelmo Fajardo, was also suspended for alleged embezzlement. Colombia's military is already under pressure over future court hearings on the special peace tribunals. Some soldiers accuse corrupt officials from ordering them to comply with questionable operations.

Hundreds of taxi drivers stage protest against ride-hailing taxi services

Hundreds of taxi drivers staged a nationwide strike action to protest against ride-hailing taxi services in Colombia. Demonstrations happened on Wednesday across Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla and several other department capitals. Protesters demand the implementation of fairer and equal requirements for licensing such services in the country. They claim that taxi drivers have to pass much stricter tests, while also being required to acquire more licences than drivers of app-based companies. Like in Europe and Asia, taxi drivers often launch protests against those services in Latin America.

Arrest warrant issued to FARC congressman after failing court appearance

An arrest warrant has been issued to FARC congressman Jesus Santrich after he failed to appear before a court hearing. Jesus Santrich is accused of large-scale drug-trafficking to the US and has been detained several times over the case. Authorities are currently reviewing an US-issued extradition request. Jesus Santrich, whose name is Seuxis Paucias Hernandez, was reported missing in late-June. He was housed at a Capacitation and Reincorporation Territorial Area (ETCR) in Tierra Grata, near the Venezuelan border. He was being escorted by a special police unit, known as the UNP. Santrich was expected to appear in court on Tuesday but failed to do so. According to his lawyer, his whereabouts are still unknown. President Ivan Duque has called for any country that is currently giving him refuge to send him back to Colombia. The case has led to heightened tensions between the government and the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC), whose former leader, Ivan Marquez, is currently sheltered in an unknown location.

Demobilised FARC militants killed in separate incident in Cauca

Two demobilised FARC militants have been killed in separate incidents across Cauca, south-western Colombia. El Espectador reported that the incidents happened in the towns of Corinto and El Tambo. FARC Senator Julian Gallo, also known as Carlos Antonio Lozada, has condemned both murders. He criticised the inefficiency of the administration of President Ivan Duque in adhering to the peace agreement reached back in late-2016. Lozada said that he is submitting an official complaint to the attorney general's office over the systematic killing of former FARC militants. He is also including claims of a plot to target high-level members of the FARC political party, the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, which holds seats in both houses of Congress.

Soldier killed during military operation in Teorama, Norte de Santander

A soldier has been killed during a military operation in Norte de Santander. Cesar Saavedra was killed when his rapid response unit was targeted in the rural area of Teorama. Defence Minister Guillermo Botero has condemned the attack and claimed that it was carried out by a sniper. Authorities are currently investigating the potential involvement of the National Liberation Army (ELN), which is known to operate in areas near the Venezuelan border. Teorama is located in the restive region of Catatumbo, where attacks against security forces, oil pipelines and police stations are frequent.

Some flights may be affected due to international air show in Medellin, Antioquia

Colombia's Civil Aviation Authority has announced that potential disruption may impact operations at the Jose Maria Cordova International Airport (MDE), the main airport that serves Medellin, north-western Colombia. Due to preparations ahead of the International Air Show (F-AIR 2019), some flights between 10 and 14 July will have their schedule changed. Passengers have been advised to directly contact their respective airlines for further flight status updates.

ELN send letter to UN Security Council over intentions to resume peace talks

Members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) have announced intentions to resume peace talks with the Colombian government. In a press conference in Cuba, where the ELN negotiation delegation is currently stationed, the group said that it has delivered a document to the UN Security Council, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Vatican. The ELN has on multiple occasions called for the resumption of peace talks, which collapsed since President Ivan Duque took office. Tensions between both parts escalated when the ELN launched a bomb attack in Bogota earlier this year.

Several killed in road accident in Cordoba

At least nine people have been killed after a pick-up truck crashed into a group of motorcyclists in Cordoba, northern Colombia. Local media reported that the crash happened on Friday evening near the town of San Andres de Sotavento. According to the police, the driver fled the scene. Road accidents in Colombia are common. Most crashes are caused due to poorly maintained vehicles and reckless driving.

FARC congressman reported missing in La Paz, Cesar

FARC congressman Zeuxis Hernandez, alias 'Jesus Santrich', was reported missing on Sunday. According to the police's National Protection Unit (UNP), Santrich disposed of his security detail in the town of La Paz, Cesar department. Colombian media reported that his whereabouts are still unknown. Santrich was housed at a Capacitation and Reincorporation Territorial Area (ETCR) in Tierra Grata, near the Venezuelan border. UNP said that they are investigating allegations that he left to meet his son in Valledupar. Santrich was recently released from prison after a lengthy battle against a US arrest warrant, where he is accused of drug-trafficking. He is set to face another trial next week. FARC has not yet issued any official comment on the matter. The UN Mission in Colombia has raised concerns over Santrich's disappearance.

Prison director suspended after death of security chief in Combita, Boyaca

A director of one of the most notorious prisons in Colombia has been suspended after the death of a prison security chief. Colonel German Ricaurte and his deputy were suspended for their alleged involvement in the death of Captain Luis Milan, who was shot dead last week when driving back home near Tunja. At least eight suspects have already been detained. Ricaurte is being accused of collusion with criminal groups and corruption. Milan died after being shot several times. He was in charge of reforming procedures and addressing corruption in the Combita maximum security prison in Boyaca. Colombia's National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (INPEC) has recently announced the detention of dozens of suspects engaged in extortion and crimes from inside prisons.

Bomb attack strikes oil pipeline in Saravena, Arauca

A bomb attack has struck the Cano Limon-Covenas oil pipeline in Arauca, north-eastern Colombia. State-owned oil company Ecopetrol has said that the attack happened on Tuesday in the rural area of Saravena. Although no casualties were reported, oil spillage affected the surrounding area. The military has attributed the attack to militants of the National Liberation Army (ELN), who often target the Limon-Covenas and other oil infrastructure in the region. Oil pipelines in northern Colombia are frequently targeted by militant and paramilitary groups aiming to pressure the government to hold peace negotiations.

Police kill leader of major drug-trafficking group in Santa Marta

Colombian police have shot dead the leader of a major criminal group engaged in drug-trafficking across the country's Caribbean coast. Jesus Galego, alias 'Chucho Mercancia', was killed last week during a police operation in Santa Marta. Mercancia was known as the leader of Los Pachenca, which controlled drug-trafficking in La Guajira, Magdalena and Atlantico. According to the police, Mercancia was wanted in the US for drug trafficking. Los Pachenca are also known to be involved in extortion and intimidation across the Caribbean coast. The group has suffered significant blows in recent months after key leaders were either detained or killed. According to InSight Crime, the group has previously faced internal disputes, and with the death of Mercancia, it may fuel further territorial disputes amongst other drug-trafficking groups in northern Colombia.

Armed assailants shot woman dead in Tierralta, Cordoba

A woman has been shot dead after armed assailants stormed her house in Tierralta, Cordoba. Maria del Pilar Hurtado was murdered on Friday when criminals opened fire on her in front of her son. Media reports suggest that Hurtado was not associated with any social or rights organisation, but she was known in her community for aiding low-income families. Reports suggest that paramilitary groups previously threatened her over a land dispute. It is still unclear which group is behind her murder, while the National Liberation Army (ELN) denied any involvement. Community leaders in Cordoba have been long-targeted by well-established militant and paramilitary groups based in the department.

Heavy rainfall triggers deadly landslides in Florencia, Caqueta

At least two people have been killed when heavy rainfall triggered a massive landslide in Caqueta, southern Colombia. Regional authorities confirmed that the main route between Florencia and Neiva was completely blocked. Local media reported that one of the victims was a local government contractor. Sections of the PR42+800 are still closed due to clearing up efforts. The road is also the main connection between Florencia and Suaza, Huila department. Alerts in the region remain in place as intense rainfall is forecast to persist for the next few days. Flooding and further landslides are possible. For updates, travellers are advised to monitor daily alerts from Colombia's meteorology institute, IDEAM.

Local indigenous leader shot dead in Cauca

A local indigenous leader has been killed in an armed attack in Cauca, south-western Colombia. El Espectador reported that Nestor Bototo, the leader of the community council in El Manzano, was killed on the road to Suarez a Santander de Quilichao. Authorities are still investigating who is behind the attack. Indigenous, social and campesino leaders are often targeted by militant groups based in remote rural areas across Colombia. El Espectador and other media outlets have recently reported that the so-called Aguila Negras issued threats against indigenous groups in the region. Aguilas Negras, also known as the Black Eagles, is believed to be comprised of several dissident paramilitary groups across Colombia.

Peace commissioner request extradition warrants to ELN leaders in Cuba

Colombia's high commissioner for peace, Miguel Ceballos, has requested that prosecutors issue an extradition order to leaders of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Cuba. Ceballos has named four leaders of the ELN for links to the deadly bomb attack to a police academy in Bogota, where 22 police officers were killed in January. The group's high command is currently believed to be in Cuba, where the talks were transferred to in 2018. For more than a year, peace talks have been stalled after President Ivan Duque demanded the ELN to release all of their kidnapped hostages. ELN negotiator Pablo Beltran, who is one of the names included in the extradition request, has recently said that the ELN is willing to resume peace talks with the current administration.

Public attorney shot dead in Palmira, Valle del Cauca

Colombia's Ombudsman has confirmed that a public attorney was murdered in Palmira, Valle del Cauca. El Pais reported that Octavio Rondal de la Cruz was shot dead on Thursday afternoon at a bakery located in the Santa Barbara neighbourhood. Authorities are currently investigating what the motives behind the attack are. Dissident and militant armed groups are known to operate across the Cauca Valley. A number of community leaders based in the region have been previously targeted.

Military commanders claim that armed groups are recruiting Venezuelan migrants

Military commanders have claimed that Colombian-based militant groups are currently recruiting Venezuelan migrants to join their fronts. In an exclusive interview published on Thursday, Reuters reported that desperate Venezuelans crossing the Colombian border are often lured to join militant rankings and other paramilitary groups engaged in drug-trafficking. According to the government, FARC dissidents and the National Liberation Army (ELN) are still highly active in northern Colombia and have around 8,400 members nationwide. For months, the Colombian government has claimed that ELN leaders are currently sheltered in Venezuela, while they keep recruiting people across the border. Since the FARC peace deal was signed in 2016, several militant and paramilitary groups are battling to secure strategic drug-trafficking territory and counter large-scale operations from the Colombian armed forces.

Contingency measures launched to mitigate impact of highway closure

Colombia's ministry of transport is currently working on contingency plans to mitigate the impact of the closure of Highway 40, the main route between Bogota and Villavicencio. The Via del Llano between both cities has been blocked since mid-May after a massive landslide hit areas near Guayabetal. In a statement published on Wednesday, the government confirmed that they are working on alternative routes mainly to ensure the supply of food and other household items to affected regions. It includes a 10-hour-long route through the towns of Tunja, Duitama, Songamoso, Aguazul and Restrepo. Reports confirm that the number of flights from Villavicencio's La Vanguardia Airport (VVC) has expanded to airlines including Avianca, Easyfly and Satena.

Former FARC militants killed in separate incidents in Cauca and Narino

Two former militants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been killed in separate incidents in Cauca and Narino, south-western Colombia. In the town of Caloto, Anderson Perez Osorio was shot dead when gunmen targeted him on the streets. According to the FARC political party, Perez worked as a journalist for a FARC-linked news outlet. In the town of El Charco, Narino, Daniel Esterilla Grueso died just moments after reportedly meeting with a UN commission. FARC leader Rodrigo Londono condemned the attacks and called on the government to protect former FARC militants. Both incidents came just a week after two other former FARC members were also killed in Cauca and Narino.

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Hacari, Norte de Santander

Hundreds of people have been displaced due to armed clashes in the rural area of Hacari and La Playa, Norte de Santander. A report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) shows that incidents have been reported since early-June. Hacari and La Playa are located in the restive Catatumbo region, where paramilitary and organised criminal groups widely operate. Hacari, as well as other towns in the region, are often affected during large-scale military operations to counter those groups.

FARC leader loses seat in Congress

A Colombian court, the Consejo de Estado, has ordered the removal of FARC leader Luciano Marin as a senator. In a statement, the court said that alias 'Ivan Marquez' has lost his right to take office after he refused to be sworn in on multiple occasions. Ivan Marquez was expected to be sworn in last year just after the general elections. However, he fled from Bogota after the arrest of Jesus Santrich on US drug charges - Santrich was recently released and took office in Congress. Ivan Marquez is expected to be replaced by another FARC senator. According to El Espectador, Israel Zuniga, alias 'Benkos Bioho', is next in line.

Sections of major highway in central Colombia remain blocked

Sections of a major highway in central Colombia remain blocked after a massive landslide hit the region in mid-May. A large part of the Ruta 40 near Guayabetal is still restricted as clearing up efforts are ongoing. In a statement released on Sunday, highway operator Coviandes said that works have been suspended due to hazardous conditions and further risks of landslides. The route is also one of the main connections between Bogota and the eastern Plains. Locals are concerned about shortages and increasing prices on food and basic items. Highway 40 is the quickest route from Villavicencio to Bogota. Although road connections between both cities are very limited, alternative routes are possible and journeys may take up to 11 hours to be completed.

Community radio journalist shot dead in Samaniego, Narino

A community radio journalist has been shot dead after two armed men on a motorcycle opened fire in Narino, south-western Colombia. El Espectador reported that Libardo Montenegro was killed on Monday evening in the rural town of Samaniego. Montenegro was a well-known radio journalist in the town and took part in several EU-funded projects, including the Radio Station for Peace. The EU Embassy in Colombia and the UN condemned his murder. Montenegro's death comes just two weeks after a local government employee was also killed in Samaniego. The town is located west of Pasto. Criminality levels in the rural areas of Narino are relatively high due to the presence of paramilitary and militant groups engaged in drug-trafficking and illegal mining.

FARC leader sworn into office after being released over US drug case

Seuxis Hernandez, also known as Jesus Santrich, has been sworn in as a congressman in the Colombian lower house of Congress. Hernandez is a member of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC), which was granted 10 seats in Congress as part of the peace agreement. He was set to be sworn last year but he was arrested over US drug charges. He was released last month after being rearrested for the same charges. His initial detention last year generated political tensions between the government and the FARC, forcing FARC Senator Ivan Marquez to flee to an undisclosed location.

FARC dissidents release 'proof-of-life' video of soldier kidnapped in Arauca

Dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have released a 'proof-of-life' video of a kidnapped soldier in Arauca, northern Colombia. The Colombian Ombudsman's Office confirmed the video that features Jesus Acosta Melo, who was kidnapped back in March in Arauquita. El Espectador reported that Acosta Melo was taken while visiting his family. FARC dissidents and other militant groups operate in varying levels in northern Colombia.

Colombian border reopens after four months

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced the reopening of the land border with Colombia. Colombian authorities confirmed that thousands of migrants crossed the border over the weekend when the border was reopened after nearly four months. Diplomatic relations between both countries have been strained since the Venezuelan political and economic crisis worsened. The border has been shut since February after President Maduro attempted to block US aid from entering the country from Colombia. The borders with Brazil and the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) were also shut - the border with Brazil was also reopened last month. According to the UN, more than four million Venezuelans have left the country since 2015, with Colombia being the main destination.

Soldiers killed in bomb attack in Tame, Arauca

At least two soldiers have been killed and 10 others have been injured in a bomb attack in Arauca, northern Colombia. According to the military, the incident happened on Sunday in the town of Tame. Reports suggest that two explosive devices went off when soldiers were patrolling the area. Paramilitary and militant groups are known to operate in the region. They often target military posts and patrols in rural areas.

Lower house reopens corruption probe on former President Santos

Colombia's lower house of Congress is set to reopen a corruption probe on former President Juan Manuel Santos for allegedly receiving illegal campaign funds from the Brazilian-based company Odebrecht. Investigations are resuming after a former congressman gave an interview saying that the former president knew about the bribe. Former Senator Bernardo Miguel Elias was sentenced to seven years in prison for receiving millions in bribes from the company. The case implicates former President Santos in both of his presidential campaigns in 2010 and 2014.

President Duque signs special peace tribunal law

President Ivan Duque has signed the new Statutory Law of the Special Jurisdiction Court (JEP), which will be the main legal framework to trial those involved in serious crimes during the country's long-standing armed conflict. After months of deliberation and court battles, the JEP will now be provided with constitutional and legal guarantees in their procedures. JEP is one of the main parts of the FARC peace agreement. It will also be responsible for dictating compensation to victims of the conflict. The government is expected to attempt to introduce amendments mainly regarding the revision of crimes of sexual nature and extradition.

Police commander killed during shooting in Segovia, Antioquia

A police commander has been killed in a shooting in the northern town of Segovia, Antioquia. EFE reported that the officer was shot dead during a police operation on Wednesday evening. At least two suspects were detained and a large haul of weapons was seized. The incident happened days after several people were injured in another shooting over the weekend. Segovia is a gold-mining town, where militant and paramilitary groups are known to operate.

Prosecutors request removal of FARC leader as senator

Prosecutors have requested the removal of Luciano Marin, alias Ivan Marquez, as senator of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC). Colombia's Council of State claimed that Marquez deliberately refused to be sworn into office last year. His refusal came amid the arrest warrant against alias Jesus Santrich, who was accused of drug-trafficking. Since then, Marquez's location remains unknown. He repeatedly criticised the government of President Ivan Duque and his approach to the special peace tribunal. Marquez was nominated senator as part of the peace agreement, which guaranteed seats in both chambers of Congress to former FARC leaders.

Several killed in violent armed raid in Caceres, Antioquia

At least four people have been killed after armed assailants raided a village in the rural area of Caceres, Antioquia. EFE reported that the unknown men targeted a house and fired a grenade before fleeing the scene. The group has reportedly arrived in the town by boat and wearing fake police outfits. Caceres is located in the restive Bajo Cauca region, where paramilitary groups such as the Clan del Golfo widely operate.

Intense rainfall affects thousands across northern Colombia

Intense rainfall has caused widespread flooding and landslides across northern Colombia. Local media reported that for several days heavy downpour is battering the northern departments of Antioquia and Cordoba. Recent reports suggest that nearly 34,000 people were already affected in the towns of Caucasia and Copacabana, both located in Antioquia. Travel disruption has been reported along the main highway between Medellin and Bogota. Local rivers are also on alert due to flooding risks. Landslides and flooding in rural areas are common, especially during the rainy season, which varies by region. For further information, travellers are recommended to follow updates from the Colombian Institute of Meteorological Studies (IDEAM).

Social leader found dead in La Playa, Norte de Santander

Another social leader has been found dead in Norte de Santander. El Pais reported that Dagoberto Alvarez was killed over the weekend in the rural area of La Playa. He was the treasurer for the local community council in Playa de Belen. Senator Aida Avella, of the Patriotic Union (UP) party, condemned the incident. She raised concerns over the systematic killing of social leaders in Colombia since the peace deal was signed with the FARC back in 2016. Official data shows that more than 300 social leaders were killed in Colombia since January 2018. Norte de Santander reports one of the highest rates with 25 confirmed incidents. La Playa is located in the restive region of Catatumbo, where paramilitary and militant groups widely operate.

Stranded US aid to be delivered in Cucuta, Norte de Santander

US aid intended to be distributed in Venezuela is set to be delivered in the bordering town of Cucuta, Norte de Santander. US and Colombian governments have reached an agreement to allow the distribution of stranded humanitarian aid to low-income Colombians and Venezuelan migrants based along the border. Earlier this year, tensions along the border broke out after the US attempted to deliver aid into Venezuela. A major bridge was blocked to prevent loaded lorries to cross the border. Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has eventually allowed Red Cross assistance and aid from Russia and China.

Social leader shot dead in Santa Marta, Magdalena

A social leader has been shot dead in the northern department of Magdalena. According to the police, Luis Joaquin Trujillo was found dead in the Quebrada del Sol, located in the rural area of Santa Marta. He was a member of the local community action council. Reports suggest that at least four social leaders were killed in Magdalena this year. The incident came months after another social leader was killed in Santa Marta. Authorities believe that some of them are targeted by paramilitary groups linked to the Clan del Golfo.

Senior FARC dissident killed in joint operation in Guaviare

A senior FARC dissident leader has been killed during a joint operation in the rural area of Guaviare, southern Colombia. According to the military, police officers and soldiers killed Yeison Sandoval, alias 'Yeison Orejas', a close acquaintance of the FARC dissident leader 'Gentil Duarte'. Reports suggest that the operation happened in the rural areas of El Chaparral, where another security guard linked to Gentil was also killed. The government accuses Orejas of extortion in Guaviare, Meta, and the bordering department of Putumayo. FARC dissidents still operate in varying levels across Colombia. They are mainly engaged in drug-trafficking and extortion.

Supreme Court orders release of FARC leader jailed for US drug charges

Colombia's Supreme Court has ordered the immediate release of a jailed former leader of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC). Seuxis Hernandez, also known as Jesus Santrich, is currently being accused of aiding drug-trafficking to the US. He was previously arrested earlier this month after a US court issued an arrest warrant against him. He was released and rearrested earlier this week after further US charges were revealed. Santrich is a congressman to the FARC political party. His arrest has heavily impacted the relationship between the FARC and the government of President Ivan Duque.

Colombia and Peru seek international aid for Venezuelan migrant crisis

The presidents of both Colombia and Peru have called for international support to cope with the influx of around two million Venezuelan migrants to their countries in recent years. Colombian President Ivan Duque said during a visit to Lima that the countries "are facing the worst migratory crisis that Latin America has seen in its' recent history". He added that migration would likely continue to increase if Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro remained in power. Last month, Peru started to deport Venezuelans with a criminal history, although the UN has said that the migrants deserve protection as refugees.

Six soldiers injured in Tibu bomb attack

At least six soldiers were wounded in a bomb attack suspected to be the work of the National Liberation Army (ELN). The incident happened in Tibu in the restive Catatumbo region, Norte de Santander, when the brigade was leaving for a patrol. Following the attack, an inspection of the area located three further improvised devices which were destroyed in controlled explosions. The region is the location of cocaine cultivation, and various groups including the ELN, FARC dissidents and the People's Liberation Army (EPL) are known to operate there.

Attorney General Martinez resigns after release of former FARC commander

Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez has resigned after a special peace tribunal ordered the released of a jailed former FARC commander. Martinez said that he is resigning after the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which is in charge of trialling crimes committed during the conflict, ordered the release of Seuxis Paucias Hernandez, alias Jesus Santrich. The US has requested Santrich's extradition after his alleged involvement in drug trafficking. His arrest generated tensions between the FARC political party and the government, which forced the resignation of FARC Senator Ivan Marquez, whose whereabouts are still unknown. Martinez has been recently implicated in a number of scandals linked to the Brazilian company Odebrecht.

Landslides block main route between Bogota and Villavicencio, Meta

Major stretches of the main road between Bogota and Villavicencio have been blocked by landslides. As clearing up works continue along the Via del Llano, the road has been closed since Monday, especially near Guayabetal. Meta department has been facing heavy rainfall for several days, which triggered flooding and landslides in some mountainous areas. Weather alerts remain in place across the department as adverse weather is forecast to persist. Additional flights between Bogota and Villavicencio are scheduled, while Colombia's Civil Aviation authority continues to work in contingency measures to ensure connections between both cities. Highway 40 is the quickest route from Villavicencio to Bogota. Although road connections between both cities are very limited, alternative routes are possible and journeys may take up to 11 hours to be completed.

Two killed in bomb attack to local judicial commission in Tibu, Norte de Santander

At least two people have been killed and several others injured in a bomb attack against a judicial commission in Norte de Santander. According to the police, the attack happened in the rural area of Tibu, when members of the local commission were inspecting some buildings in the area. Among the victims is a secretary of the municipal judicial office in Tibu. Several soldiers and police officers were injured. Investigations have been launched to assess the parts responsible for the attack. Tibu is located in the restive region of Catatumbo, where preliminary and militant groups widely operate.

Demobilised FARC commander killed in armed attack in Tulua, Cauca Valley

A demobilised commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been killed in a shooting in the Cauca Valley, south-western Colombia. Alias Wilson Saavedra was shot dead in the rural area of Tulua, when assailants riding a motorcycle targeted him. Saavedra is the highest FARC ranking killed since the peace agreement was signed in 2016. It is estimated that more than 130 former militants have already been killed since then. Saavedra was reportedly having an active role in UN-backed rural programmes in the Cauca Valley. Rights groups and FARC senators raised concerns over security guarantees for demobilised guerilla groups, especially those engaged in crop-substitution programmes.

Medical staff leave rural area in Antioquia after doctor's assassination

Medical staff in a rural area in northern Colombia have fled the town of El Bagre, Antioquia, after a local doctor was assassinated. Cristian Julio Arteaga was shot dead on Saturday when heading to his house in Caucasia. Local authorities raised concerns over the shortage of medical staff in El Bagre, where more than 75,000 people live. Services are already stretched. Reports suggest that A&E services in some clinics are suspended. Some doctors and medical students head to remote rural areas as part of their placement year. In previous reports, the local ombudsman's office raised concerns over the current security situation in the Bajo Cauca area, where militant and dissident groups fight for territory.

US deliver $160m to aid implementation of FARC peace process

President Ivan Duque has announced that the US has delivered $160m to assist in the implementation of the peace agreement with Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The announcement was made alongside USAID Director Mark Green. The grant seeks to aid Colombia to enhance security measures, promote rural development and strengthen human rights. Since the FARC peace deal was signed, significant improvements were made. However, a number of challenges are still being addressed. They include security in areas previously held by the FARC, protection to social leaders, the introduction of crops substitution programmes, rural reforms and the fulfilment of the National Development Plan (PND).

Workers evacuated due to safety concerns at dam in Antioquia

Dozens of workers at the Hidroituango Dam in northern Antioquia have reportedly been evacuated due to safety concerns. Local media reported that the state-owned company EPM ordered its workers to leave the dam after a potential leak was identified. For more than a year, the Hidroituango dam has been under evaluation over potential risks of collapse, which could affect thousands of people living along the Cauca River in northern Colombia - some communities include Puerto Valdivia, Taraza and Caceres. In February, Hidroituango floodgates were closed over potential structural risks. Last year, hundreds of families were forced to evacuate after parts of the dam collapsed. Besides destroying hundreds of houses and farms, it also generated serious environmental implications.

FARC dissidents reportedly threaten tourist guides in Guaviare

FARC dissidents based in the southern department of Guaviare have reportedly banned tourism in the region. El Espectador reported that tourist guides were threatened and told to cease their operations until the Easter holidays last month. Among the areas most affected are archaeological sites in Cerro Azul, Guayabero and La Lindosa. Reports suggest that travel guides were given specific instructions to only operate in areas around the urban area of San Jose del Guaviare. Reports have not been independently confirmed, while the government has not made any comments on the issue. Guaviare and Meta are the departments with the highest number of FARC dissidents in Colombia. Militants are often engaged in drug-trafficking and extortion. In late-April, the UN Verification Mission in Colombia released a report stating that demobilised FARC guerillas have become engaged with ecotourism as a way to be reintroduced into civilian life. The sector has been widely used to fuel socio-economic development in rural areas across Guaviare.

Filmmaker shot dead in armed attack in Arauquita, Arauca

A filmmaker has been killed during a suspected armed attack in Arauca, north-eastern Colombia. Mauricio Lezama was working in a documentary on criminality when he was shot dead in the rural area of Arauquita. Lezama was shot multiple times when armed men on a motorcycle approached him. Lezama recently received funds for a work project called 'Mayo', where he was investigating stories of victims of the Colombian armed conflict. Arauca Governor Ricardo Arevalo has blamed a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for the attack.

Lower house approves National Development Plan

The lower house of Congress has approved the National Development Plan (PND), a multi-million dollar project aimed at addressing social issues across Colombia. After hours of discussion, lawmakers approved most articles within the plan, while they excluded at least a dozen policies. The PND is a four-year plan intended to address extreme poverty in Colombia. It also aims to improve education, security and employment. The bill will now head to the Senate. Campesino and indigenous communities have recently launched a nationwide strike to pressure the government into committing to the plan. Some rural areas in Colombia are widely neglected and have poor state presence, especially concerning social issues and security. In most of them, this provides breeding grounds for militant and paramilitary groups which take over the vacuum lefts by the government.

Hundreds forced to evacuate due to armed clashes in Jurado, Choco

Hundreds of people across several indigenous communities in northern Colombia were forced to evacuate due to armed clashes in Choco. According to a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), since late-April more than 1,500 people living in the rural area of Jurado were forced to move to local urban areas. Jurado is located in north-western Colombia, close to the Panamanian border. Indigenous and afro-Colombian communities in rural areas in Choco are often affected in military operations and territorial disputes involving rival militant and paramilitary entities.

Civilians injured in bomb attack to military base in Saravena, Arauca

At least four people have been injured in a suspected bomb attack in Arauca, north-eastern Colombia. Local media reported that suspected militants fired explosive devices at a military base in Saravena. According to the defence ministry, one of the explosives hit a civilian residence located nearby. Among the injured were two children and a civilian woman. Saravena is located in the restive Catatumbo region, where members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) operate. President Ivan Duque has condemned the attack and accused the ELN of planning cross-border attacks in Colombia from Venezuela. Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza denied the allegations. Diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Colombia have been suspended since February.

Army general admits military involvement in former FARC militant's death

A Colombian Army general has admitted that the military was involved in the death of Dilmar Torres, a former FARC militant killed last week in Norte de Santander. General Diego Munoz has publicly apologised and confirmed the involvement of several soldiers in the incident. Torres was a demobilised member of the FARC. His death generated outrage on FARC political rankings in Congress. He was shot dead in the town of Convencion, located in the restive Catatumbo region. Previous reports suggested that the soldiers attempted to bury his body to conceal the killing. More than 100 former FARC militants have been killed in Colombia since the peace deal was signed in 2016. Rights groups, the opposition and the FARC party raised concerns over the safety guarantees to demobilised FARC guerillas.

Special peace court seeks detention of former FARC leader

Colombia's special peace tribunal has requested the detention of a former FARC leader for failing to appear in court. Hernan Velasquez, alias 'El Paisa', has failed to attend a Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) summon and to give his testimony over his suspected role in kidnappings during the conflict. Velasquez was known for leading an infamous elite unit of the FARC. He is one of the many former FARC leaders whose location has been unknown since the arrest of alias Jesus Santrich last year. FARC leader Ivan Marquez and several other senior members of the former guerrilla group are calling on the government for guarantees before they submit themselves before the JEP.

Nationwide strike to continue across Colombia

An ongoing strike is expected to continue until at least Thursday 02 May, as social leaders and organisations continue to protest across major cities. Since last week, social groups in Colombia launched a massive strike to pressure the government of President Ivan Duque to enforce the National Development Plan. Some highways and major roads to and from department capitals may be blocked, while travel disruption is highly expected to affect downtown Bogota. A number of further demonstrations are expected throughout the week, including the arrival of thousands of social leaders in the capital on Saturday. Travellers are advised caution as some protests may turn violent. Since Thursday, dozens of protesters have been detained for vandalism against public buildings and buses.

Campesino trade unionist killed in armed attack in San Miguel, Putumayo

A local trade unionist has been killed in an armed ambush in Putumayo, southern Colombia. Nixon Valencia was shot earlier this week when visiting family members in the bordering town of San Miguel. Reports suggest that his six-year-old daughter was with him at the time of the attack. Valencia was a member of the agricultural trade union Fensuagro, which since 2018 had at least nine of its members killed. Social leaders in Colombia have been systematically targeted since the FARC peace agreement was signed in 2016. Putumayo is located in the southern border with Ecuador, where militant and paramilitary groups are known to operate.

Thousands to take part in nationwide strike action

Thousands are expected to take part in a nationwide strike action scheduled for Thursday, 25 April. Social, indigenous, workers and campesino organisations are expected to take to the streets of major cities, including Bogota, to demand more investment in agricultural and mining policies, safety guarantees of social leaders and to protest the alleged inefficiency of the National Development Plan. In previous occasions, violence has broken out during major protests in Colombia. Safety concerns may include armed attacks and clashes involving organised criminal groups that may infiltrate the demonstration. This is the first nationwide strike action in Colombia since President Ivan Duque took office back in August. Travel disruption is expected in most cities, while major highways may also be blocked.

Former FARC militant killed in Convencion, Norte de Santander

A former member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been killed in a shooting incident in Norte de Santander. El Espectador reported that Dimar Torres died after being shot in the town of Convencion, located in the restive Catatumbo region. Senator Julian Gallo of the FARC political party has accused the military of involvement in Torres's death. Gallo, also known for his former nom-de-guerre, Carlos Antonio Lozada, said that he is summoning members of both houses of Congress to investigate the incident. Gallo and Convencion's Mayor Hermes Garcia Quintero said that locals accused soldiers of attempting to bury Torres's body near a military camp. The military and the attorney general's office opened an investigation. Since the peace agreement was signed, several demobilised FARC members have been killed in Colombia. However, most incidents are linked to drug-traffickers and paramilitary groups.

Several killed as knocked tree hits vehicles in Norte de Santander

Five people have been killed and several others injured after severe weather knocked down trees in north-eastern Colombia. EFE reported that two vehicles were hit by falling trees on the main route between Sardinata and Cucuta, Norte de Santander. Most regions across western Colombia were on alert due to inclement weather. The incident happened just hours after 28 people were killed in landslides in the south-western department of Cauca. Flooding was also reported in Barbacoeas, Narino, where intense rainfall triggered the overflow of several rivers. Flooding and landslides are common in Colombia, especially during the rainy season, which varies depending on the region. For further information, travellers are advised to follow weather updates and alerts from Colombia's Met Institute, IDEAM.

Dozens killed in landslides near Rosas, Cauca

At least 28 people have been killed when heavy rainfall triggered a massive landslide in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Emergency services rushed to the village of Rosas, where six houses were buried. The landslides happened on the early hours of Sunday morning in the rural area of Portachuelo. Reports suggest that dozens of people are still missing. In previous weeks, landslides and flooding have affected a number of department across Colombia. Such incidents are common during the country's rainy season. In south-western Colombia, the rainy season usually lasts between March and May. Travellers are advised to follow updates and weather alerts from IDEAM.

Court summons ELN central commanders for ordering killing of two investigators in 1998

Five senior members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) have been summoned regarding the assassination of two investigators more than 20 years ago. Colombian prosecutors have summoned senior members of the ELN central command, often referred as COCE, for allegedly ordering the murder of Edibrando Roa Lopez and Jhon Morales Patino in Antioquia. According to reports, prosecutors claim that the orders to kill them came directly from the COCE. Among those summoned is alias 'Gabino' and 'Pablo Beltran'. This is the latest court proceeding involving ELN senior members. Earlier this week, a judge ordered the detention of two other ELN militants for links to the deadly bomb attack to a police academy in January. Peace negotiations between the ELN and the government are stalled since President Ivan Duque took office last year.

Judge orders arrest of two senior ELN members for police academy bomb attack

A judge has ordered the arrest of two senior members of the National Liberation Army (ELN). Alias 'Silvana Guerrero' and 'Alirio Sepulveda' are accused of orchestrating a bomb attack which killed 22 police officers and injured 66 others at a police academy in southern Bogota. Both are leaders of separate ELN fronts in Colombia. Prosecutors believe that both are out of the country and may have crossed the border with Venezuela, where a number of ELN militants are believed to be based. Since the attack, talks with the ELN are stalled. The group has recently called for a unilateral ceasefire ahead of the Easter holidays.

Former FARC militant's son killed in armed attack in La Guajira

A seven-month-old baby has been killed after armed assailants target a house in La Guajira, northern Colombia. Reports show that Samuel David Gonzalez was shot in the leg and succumbed to his wounds after being taken to a local hospital in Maicao, located near the Venezuelan border. The victim was the son of a former militant of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Samuel and his parents were based in a FARC reintegration camp in Tierra Grata, Cesar department. El Espectador reported that the family were heading to La Guajira to visit the child's grandmother. The FARC political party demanded an urgent investigation over the circumstances behind the incident. Samuel's death has generated uproar in the Tierra Grata camp, where dozens of former FARC militants are based. It is estimated that nearly 3,000 former FARC militants are still in reintegration camps across Colombia. In an interview to El Espectador, a local Tierra Grata leader condemned the incident and raised concerns for the safety of former FARC militants.

Hundreds evacuated due to armed clashes in Tierralta, Cordoba

Hundreds of people have been forcibly evacuated after violent armed clashes broke out in Cordoba, north-western Colombia. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), clashes between the armed forces and an unidentified criminal group erupted in the town of Tierralta. The most affected were campesino and indigenous communities. Rural villages are frequently affected by armed clashes involving the military, militant and paramilitary groups. Criminal entities engaged in drug-trafficking, kidnapping and extortion usually fight amongst themselves to secure territory.

Spanish police dismantle ELN communications host service in Madrid

Spains' National Police has dismantled the official online communications network of the National Liberation Army (ELN)in Madrid. EFE reported that servers hosting websites and online services for the ELN have been shut down. Among them was their official website 'eln-voces', which was used to claim responsibility for last January's terrorist attack in Bogota, where 22 people were killed. One suspect was arrested after joint-investigations with the Colombian police. The ELN has recently announced a unilateral ceasefire ahead of the Easter holidays as the group pressure the government to resume peace talks.

Local indigenous leader shot dead in Riosucio, Choco

A local indigenous leader has been gunned down in Choco, north-western Colombia. Aquileo Mecheche was the local indigenous leader in the rural town of Riosucio. Local media reported that he was killed on Friday when gunmen raided his home and killed him on the streets. Indigenous groups claim that Mecheche was killed by members of the Clan del Golfo, which have previously been engaged in clashes with rival militant groups based in the region. Mecheche was killed just days after another indigenous leader was murdered in Cauca. Social and indigenous leaders are often threatened and targeted in areas where militant groups are present. According to official sources, more than 300 social leaders in Colombia have been killed in the past two years.

Adverse weather triggers flooding and landslides across Colombia

Adverse weather has significantly impacted several departments across Colombia. Intense rainfall has triggered widespread flooding and landslides in several regions across Antioquia, Narino, Cauca, Huila, Caqueta, Caldas and Cundinamarca. Reports suggest that more than a dozen people have been killed so far as hundreds of houses were destroyed. Landslides and flooding in rural areas are common, especially during the rainy season, which varies by region. Colombia's meteorology institute, IDEAM, monitor weather events across the country. Travellers are advised to follow updates and weather alerts from IDEAM.

ELN announces unilateral ceasefire ahead of Easter holidays

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has announced a unilateral ceasefire ahead of the Easter holidays. In a statement released on Thursday, the ELN has said that the ceasefire will start on 14 April and last until 21 April. The group has said that the move comes to show to the government of President Ivan Duque their intentions to resume peace talks. The ELN said that during this period the group will only undertake defensive maneuvres. The announcement was made by the groups' National Directory. The ELN structure is mainly comprised of numerous militant fronts that autonomously operate across Colombia, meaning that a ceasefire called by its central command may not be adopted by all fronts. The group, which ideology is closely linked to the Catholic Church, often calls for unilateral ceasefires during religious holidays, such as Easter and Christmas. Talks between the ELN and the government are stalled as President Duque demand the release of several people that are currently being held hostage by the group.

Lower house rejects presidential amendments to special peace court

Colombia's lower house of Congress has overwhelmingly rejected a number of amendments to the Special Peace Jurisdiction (JEP). President Ivan Duque has previously rejected to sanction the JEP after he proposed changes to six articles - the bill has 159 articles in total. The JEP is a special court to be created as part of the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Among the changes proposed, they included compensation to the victims of the conflict and clarifications regarding extradition cases. The amendments failed to pass after garnering 44 votes in favour and 110 against. Since taking office in August, President Duque has struggled to pass legislation linked to Colombia's peace agreement. His ruling coalition currently holds 83 seats in the 172-seat House of Representatives.

President Duque hold talks after lifting of highway blockades in southern Colombia

President Ivan Duque has travelled to Cauca after indigenous communities lifted highway blockades. For nearly one month, several groups blocked a number of stretches of the Panamericana Highway in southern Colombia. Rural and urban communities suffered from widespread shortages of food and basic goods during the blockade, which was lifted after President Duque agreed to visit the area. President Duque and several ministers headed to the town of Popayan to meet with local leaders, business people and workers' syndicates. In a statement, the government and the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) have announced that an agreement was reached to finance housing, health and other sectors across the region. Traffic along the Panamericana Highway, between Cali, Popayan and Pasto, has been already resumed.

Alternative route opened to deliver aid amid indigenous protests in southern Colombia

An alternative route to southern Colombia has been opened as some stretches of the Panamericana highway remain blocked. For more than three weeks, indigenous communities have been blocking the highway to demand that the government enforce a number of policies towards communities in the region. According to the National Unit for Risk and Disasters Management (UNGRD), a new 3.4-kilometre stretch has been opened to allow the delivery of fuel, food and medicines to a number of rural communities across Cauca department. Several towns are being affected with shortages due to the blockade. Protests are expected to continue after a dialogue between government envoys and indigenous groups collapsed earlier this week. Roadblocks have been mostly reported in Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Huila and Caqueta.

Military detains senior Clan del Golfo militant in Cordoba, Bolivar

A senior member of the paramilitary Clan del Golfo group has been arrested in a military operation in Bolivar, northern Colombia. Alias 'Navarro' was detained in a military operation in Planeta Rica, rural area of Cordoba. President Ivan Duque has said that Navarro is close to the group's leader, alias Otoniel. This is the latest blow to the Clan del Golfo, a powerful paramilitary group engaged in drug-trafficking in northern Colombia. In recent months, the group has suffered massive losses after senior members were either killed or arrested. The government claims that in eight months of operations, more than 500 militants were detained.

Indigenous protests in southern Colombia to continue after failed dialogue

Indigenous protests in southern Colombia are set to continue after talks between indigenous leaders and the government collapsed. Colombia's National Indigenous Organisation (ONIC) has said that talks with the government were suspended due to the lack of judicial guarantees. Indigenous leaders demand the government to enforce a number of laws created for the benefit of indigenous communities in the region. Since mid-March, major stretches of the Pan-American Highway in southern Colombia are blocked. Roadblocks have been mostly reported in Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Huila and Caqueta. Some areas are being significantly affected as roadblocks prevent the delivery of food, fuel and other goods to rural communities.

Regional airline ADA cancels all flights as company ceases operations

Colombia's regional airline Aerolinea de Antioquia (ADA) has cancelled all flights as the company ceases operations. In a statement, ADA has advised passengers to find alternative arrangements for their booked flights. ADA is based in the north-western department of Antioquia and mainly operates regional flights in Colombia. Travellers with flights booked with ADA are advised to directly contact the airline for further information.

Armed groups cause displacement of hundreds in Puerto Libertador, Cordoba

Hundreds of people were displaced after paramilitary groups raided several communities in Cordoba, northern Colombia. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), dozens of families in the rural area of Puerto Libertador have been displaced. More than 100 people living in a neighbouring rural community in Ituango, Antioquia, were also forced to leave their homes. Reports suggest that two coca farmers were recently killed after being kidnapped in San Jose de Ure. Rights groups claim that militant groups engaged in drug-trafficking are often threatening farmers part of crop-substitution programmes.

Government accuses militant groups of infiltrating protests in Cauca

A wave of bomb attacks and security incidents have been reported amid an ongoing indigenous protest in south-western Colombia. As hundreds of people are currently blocking parts of a major international highway that crosses through Cauca department, at least five incidents were reported in recent days. Defense Minister Guillermo Botero has attributed most incidents to dissident FARC fronts and an offshoot of the People's Liberation Army (EPL). Among the incidents, it includes a bomb attack on a police station in Miranda and a roadside bomb which exploded along a highway near Santander de Quillichao. The government claims that members of militant groups have currently infiltrated the protesters. Parts of the road blockade have been lifted after a dialogue table was set up last week.

Military recovers bodies during search for missing soldiers in Buenaventura, Cauca Valley

Colombia's Navy has stated that two bodies have been recovered in the rural area of Buenaventura, Cauca Valley. The victims were found dead in the coastal area of Punta Soldado, where five people - four soldiers and a civilian - were reported missing earlier this month. EFE reported that two other bodies were recovered in the same area on Monday. In a statement, the Navy has said that search efforts to locate the missing soldiers are still ongoing. Buenaventura houses one of the main ports in Colombia. Militant groups, such as FARC dissident fronts and the National Liberation Army (ELN), widely operate in the region.

Venezuelan government condemns detention of diplomats in Bogota

Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has condemned the detention of three Venezuelan diplomats in Bogota. In a statement, Arreaza said that the diplomats headed to the country to address some economic affairs at the consulate in Cartagena and the embassy in Bogota. They were reportedly detained while leaving the country from Bogota's El Dorado International Airport. Arreaza said that their belongings were also seized. Since November, when President Nicolas Maduro took his second-term in office, diplomatic relations between both countries have been strained. In recent months, diplomatic tensions escalated after the Colombian government openly recognised Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country's interim president.

Soldier killed in armed attack in El Tarra, Norte de Santander

A soldier has been killed and four others have been injured after armed militants targeted a military patrol in Norte de Santander. Reports show that the incident happened on Wednesday in the rural area of El Tarra. Authorities believe that members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) are involved. El Tarra is located in the restive region of Catatumbo, where paramilitary and militant groups widely operate.

Powerful blast kills nine during ongoing indigenous protests near Cali

At least nine people have been killed in a powerful blast in Valle del Cauca, south-western Colombia. The explosion occurred in the indigenous reserve of Dagua, near Cali. For several days, indigenous communities have been blocking major roads around Cali in a major protest to demand the expansion of social programmes. It is still unclear what caused the blast, which came one day after a police officer was killed and several others injured in Santander del Quilichao. Reports suggest that major roadblocks were lifted on Thursday evening after indigenous leaders and government officials agreed to take part in negotiations.

Former FARC leader fails to submit testimony to peace court

A former leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has failed to submit his testimony before the Special Peace Jurisdiction (JEP). Hernan Velasquez Saldarriaga, alias 'El Paisa', the former leader of the Teofilo Forero front, was expected to voluntarily submit his testimony by Monday. El Paisa is one of the many former FARC leaders whose location has been unknown since the arrest of alias Jesus Santrich last year. FARC leader Ivan Marquez and several other senior members of the former guerrilla group are calling the government for guarantees before they submit themselves before the JEP. Last week, President Ivan Duque refused to sanction the JEP and requested Congress to amend at least six articles. Opposition supporters marched in Bogota on Monday to back the JEP and the current peace agreement with the FARC.

Regional ELN chief turns himself in to police in Saravena, Arauca

A senior member of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has reportedly turned himself in to police in Arauca, northern Colombia. EFE reported that alias 'Coco', the second-in-command of the Jose David Suarez front, surrendered in the town of Saravena. The Jose David Suarez front is known for operating in the rural areas of Arauca and Casanare. They are mainly responsible for extortion, kidnappings, armed raids and bomb attacks against oil infrastructure. Coco's arrest comes a week after President Ivan Duque headed to Saravena and pledged to reinforce security measures against the ELN in the region, which borders Venezuela.

Bomb attack strikes major oil pipeline near Arauquita, Arauca

A fresh bomb attack has hit the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline in Arauca, northern Colombia. State-owned oil company Ecopetrol has informed that the incident happened on Wednesday in the rural area of Arauquita, located near the Venezuelan border. No casualties or major damage was reported. According to Ecopetrol, nearly a dozen attacks against the Cano Limon-Covenas were reported so far in 2019. Although it remains unclear which group is behind the attack, oil pipelines are often targeted by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN). The group is known to operate in northern Colombia and to launch cross-border attacks from Venezuela. Peace negotiations with the ELN have collapsed since President Ivan Duque was sworn into office. He demands that the group ceases attacks and releases hostages.

Indigenous communities build roadblocks on major highway near Cali

More than 15,000 people blocked a major highway near Cali to demand government grants and improved social policies. Demonstrators blocked the Panamericana Highway between Cali and Popayan, which is one of the main routes from south-western Colombia to Ecuador. Local indigenous communities claimed that they are being neglected by the government and demand their inclusion in a number of social programmes. Protests started on Tuesday and escalated when riot police officers were deployed to remove the blockade. The roadblocks are mainly concentrated around the town of Santander de Quilichao and are expected to continue over the next few days.

FARC party calls for protests after President Duque rejects peace bill

A protest is scheduled to take place in Bogota after President Ivan Duque refused to sanction parts of the statutory law of the Special Peace Jurisdiction (JEP). Members of the revamped Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) have called demonstrators to gather in Bogota's Plaza Bolivar, just outside the National Capitol, home to both houses of Congress. Demonstrations are scheduled to kick off at 16:00 local time on Wednesday. FARC leader Rodrigo Londono and FARC Senator Victoria Sandino are also endorsing the protest. JEP was created in the context of the FARC peace deal, which would enable a special court to try FARC militants and government officials involved in rights violations and other crimes during the country's conflict. The implementation of the JEP has recently generated tensions between the government and former leaders of the FARC. President Duque has refused to sanction the JEP to review several articles mostly concerning compensation to the victims of the conflict and clarifications regarding extradition cases.

Thousands isolated due to landmine risks in San Calixto, Norte de Santander

More than 2,000 people have been isolated due to the presence of landmines and unexploded ordnance in San Calixto, Norte de Santander. According to a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 20 rural areas across San Calixto are included in the warning. The advisory covers the presence of landmines and some unexploded ordnance devices near major pathways, water sources and schools. San Calixto has recently seen mass displacements due to clashes involving the military and the National Liberation Army (ELN). International organisations and the Colombian government have beefed up clearing up efforts of landmines in Colombia. However, landmines left from the country's long-standing conflict are still responsible for a number of casualties.

Andean region prepares for rainy season

The National Risk Management Unit (UNGRD) has said that rainfall may intensify across most departments across the Andean region from mid-March. They include Cundinamarca, Narino, Antioquia, Valle del Cauca, Caldas, Cauca and Magdalena. During this period, heavy rainfall may trigger landslides and flooding. Areas of most risk are those located along rivers and mountain areas. The rainy season in Colombia varies depending on the region. Travellers are advised to follow updates and alerts from the Institute of Hydrology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM).

Several killed in plane crash in Meta

At least a dozen people have been killed in a plane crash in Meta, central Colombia. Colombia's Civil Aviation Authority said that the accident happened on Saturday morning near the town of San Carlos de Guaroa. The DC-3 aircraft was operated by Laser Aero and covered the route between San Jose del Guaviare and Villavicencio. It is still unclear what caused the accident.

President Duque rejects parts of peace bill

President Ivan Duque has refused to sanction parts of the statutory law of the Special Peace Jurisdiction (JEP). President Duque has rejected six of the 159 articles that comprise the document. Many of them concern compensation to the victims of the conflict and clarifications regarding extradition cases. Although the bill was approved by Congress and the Constitutional Court in 2017, it still needed to be ratified by the president. JEP was created in the context of the FARC peace deal, which would enable a special court to try FARC militants and government officials involved in rights violations and other crimes during the country's long-standing conflict. The process to implement the JEP was recently hit when a former FARC leader, Jesus Santrich, was arrested for drug-trafficking.

Soldiers injured in bomb attack in Fortul, Arauca

At least five soldiers have been severely injured after a bomb attack in Arauca, northern Colombia. El Universal reported that the incident happened in the Palmarito area in Fortul. Reports suggest that soldiers were inspecting a lorry when they were targeted. The military has attributed the attack to members of Domingo Lain Saenz Front of the National Liberation Army (ELN). Paramilitary groups and the ELN widely operate in the bordering departments of Arauca and Norte de Santander. The group is behind a number of attacks against oil pipelines and security forces in northern Colombia. Attacks have intensified since peace talks collapsed.

Hundreds affected due to violent clashes in Carmen del Darien, Choco

Hundreds of people from several indigenous communities have been affected due to violent clashes between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the military in Choco, north-western Colombia. According to a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), clashes in the region are ongoing since mid-February in the rural area of Carmen del Darien. A number of families have their movements restricted due to bombings along the Jiguamiango River. OCHA reported that indigenous and social leaders are being continuously threatened in the region by members of groups linked to drug-trafficking, such as the Clan del Golfo. Civilians are also being prevented from leaving their homes due to the potential presence of landmines and armed militant groups. Indigenous and afro-Colombian communities in rural areas in Choco are often affected in military operations and territorial disputes involving rival paramilitary entities.

Major oil pipeline targeted in bomb attack in Narino

Colombia's state-owned oil company Ecopetrol has stated that a new attack was reported on the Transandino oil pipeline in southern Colombia. According to reports, the attack happened near the town of Mallama in Narino department. A massive blaze broke out after suspected members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) targeted the oil duct. No casualties were reported. At least four attacks targeting oil pipelines have been reported in recent days. Incidents happened in Narino and Arauca. The ELN has launched numerous attacks against oil infrastructures in the country, including attacks against the Cano Limon-Covenas in northern Colombia. Since President Ivan Duque was sworn into office, peace talks with the ELN are stalled. Besides targeting oil pipelines, the ELN is also engaged in kidnapping and extortion.

Hundreds forced to cross Ecuadorian border due to clashes in Tumaco, Narino

Nearly 200 people have been forced to cross the border with Ecuador after heavy armed clashes broke out in Narino, south-western Colombia. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), clashes erupted last week in the rural area of Tumaco. It mainly involved FARC dissidents of the Oliver Sinisterra Front and a rival faction led by the alias 'El Contador'. Although the security situation along the Ecuadorian border has improved after the death of Oliver Sinisterra's leader 'Guacho, in recent weeks tensions have re-emerged amid a renewed territorial dispute. Criminal groups are currently fighting to control the region, a major drug-trafficking hub in south-western Colombia. Tensions mainly involve a drug-kingpin known as 'El Contador', who is considered one of the main drug financiers in Tumaco.

Thousands affected as massive wildfire hit Magdalena

More than 4,000 people from various indigenous communities have been affected after a massive wildfire broke out in Magdalena, northern Colombia. It is estimated that up to 1,000 hectares of land were consumed across the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Although the situation has reportedly improved, emergency services are currently monitoring the region as the blazes may reignite. Wildfires in northern Colombia has become a common sight as the region has recently faced extended drought due to the El Nino weather phenomenon. Besides wildfires, water shortages have also been reported in some areas.

Border crossings in Norte de Santander to be reopened with restrictions

Colombian authorities have announced that border crossings in Norte de Santander will be reopened with some restrictions. After nearly three days of being shut, major bridges connecting Colombia to Venezuela are set to be reopened to allow Venezuelan migrants into the country. Migracion Colombia has stated that restrictions will remain in place due to safety concerns. The bridges affected include the Simon Bolivar and Francisco de Paula Santander. The Tienditas Bridge, also referred to as La Unidad, which is planned to be used to deliver aid to Venezuela, continues to be closed. All bridges are located in Norte de Santander, while border crossings somewhere else in Colombia are operating normally. Tensions along the Venezuelan border remain high after violent clashes broke out over the weekend amid the current humanitarian aid row.

Police investigate disappearance of US businessman in Antioquia

A 43-year-old US national has been reported missing in Antioquia, northern Colombia. El Colombiano reported that Todd Phillip Sarmanian went missing on Saturday after heading to the town of Caldas to visit his spouse. Sarmanian is a businessman reportedly linked to the textile industry in Boston. He is believed to frequently travel to Colombia to visit his partner.

Wave of violence reported in Bello, Antioquia

A wave of violence has been reported in the town of Bello amid a suspected territorial dispute involving two rival gangs. At least six people have been killed in the town is the last two weeks as that two street gangs are reportedly fighting to control strategic drug-trafficking areas. The latest incident was reported on Monday when a motorcycle was sprayed with bullets. Bello is located in the metropolitan area of Medellin.

Border crossings in Norte de Santander closed after humanitarian aid tensions

Several border crossings in Norte de Santander have been closed as tensions along the Venezuelan border remain high. Violent clashes have erupted over the weekend as the Venezuelan opposition attempted to deliver humanitarian aid into Venezuela. Colombia currently houses an aid distribution facility in Cucuta, which has been prevented from delivering aid over the Tienditas International Bridge. As the bridge remains blocked, several attempts to cross into Venezuela were made via nearby bridges and other border crossings. According to the General Director of Migration Colombia, Christin Krueger Sarmiento, the bridges of La Union, Simon Bolivar, Francisco de Paula Santander and Tienditas will remain closed between Sunday and Tuesday. The measure comes as regional leaders are meeting in Bogota to discuss the current crisis.

Thousands affected as heavy rainfall hit Choco

More than 5,000 families have been affected after heavy rainfall triggered widespread flooding across Choco, north-western Colombia. Intense rainfall over the weekend has impacted several towns across the department, including Condoto, Certegui, Medio San Juan, Tado and Istmina, most of them located along the San Juan River. Choco Governor Jhoany Palacios said that no casualties have been reported so far. The health authorities are currently working on contingency measures to tackle potential cases of malaria and other diseases. The rainy season in Colombia varies depending on the region. In north-western Colombia, it usually runs between January and March.

Venezuela considering closing Colombian border ahead of aid deadline

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro is reportedly considering closing the Colombian border ahead of the so-called humanitarian aid deadline. Tensions are brewing in the bordering town of Cucuta, where dozens of lorries loaded with international aid continue to arrive at distribution centres. Cucuta is one of the main border crossings between Colombia and Venezuela. Venezuelan military has been deployed to secure access across the Tienditas International Bridge, where aid is expected to cross into the country. Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido has set 23 February as a deadline to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accept US-backed aid. More than 250,000 people are further expected to gather in the city as a major aid concert - Venezuela Live Aid - is scheduled to occur on Friday near the Tienditas Bridge in Cucuta.

President Duque launches special anti-extortion unit

President Ivan Duque has announced the creation of a special police unit to tackle extortion in Colombia. The Special Anti-extortion Command (Ceaex) will be initially integrated by more than 360 specialised police officers. They will be deployed to high-risk areas across Colombia, including rural areas in Arauca, Cordoba, Narino, Antioquia, Valle del Cauca, Norte de Santander, Meta and Magdalena. The Ceaex was launched amid an ongoing government crackdown on criminal groups engaged in extortion and kidnapping. Extortion is common in some isolated rural communities, where police presence is virtually nonexistent. Militant and paramilitary groups usually target public transport drivers, business owners and farmers. Incidents of extortion suffered a significant increase in some areas after criminal groups occupied former FARC territory.

Police officers killed in attack to border post in Arauca

Two police officers have been killed after gunmen raided a border post in Arauca, north-eastern Colombia. The incident happened overnight on Monday when two armed assailants attacked police officers stationed on the Jose Antonio Perez International Bridge, which connects Colombia's Arauca to the Venezuelan town of El Amparo. Authorities are still investigating which group is behind the attack. Besides paramilitary groups, militants part of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and FARC dissident fronts widely operate along the Venezuelan border. They are often engaged in attacks targeting security forces.

FARC dissidents expel Norwegian demining team working in Meta

Dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have reportedly expelled a humanitarian team working in a rural area in Meta, central Colombia. According to Colombia Reports, the team was comprised of demining experts of the Norwegian-based Norwegian People's Aid (NPA). They were working in the rural town of Puerto Lleras when presumed FARC dissidents ordered them to leave. All members of a nearby Norwegian camp were also evacuated as a precaution. The incident happened just as Norwegian Prince Haakon Magnus - a UN goodwill ambassador - was visiting the country.

Medical director injured in assassination attempt in southern Cali

A prominent medical director has been targeted in a presumed assassination attempt in southern Cali, Valle del Cauca. Irne Torres, the director of the University del Valle Hospital, was targeted after leaving his home in the Valle de Lili neighbourhood. Torres's bodyguard and driver were also injured in the attack. El Pais reported that at least eight shots were fired. Authorities are still investigating who is behind the attack, which is believed to have involved at least three assailants. Valle del Cauca Governor Dilian Francisca Toro said that it is not known that Torres was receiving death threats.

Oil pipelines hit in separate bomb attacks in northern and southern Colombia

Bomb attacks have been reported in two separate pipelines in southern and northern Colombia. State-owned oil company Ecopetrol has confirmed a bomb attack hit its Mansoya Orito pipeline in the southern province of Putumayo, near the Ecuadorian border. The company also stared that on the same day, another attack also targeted the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline in the northern town of Teorama, Norte de Santander. The Cano Limon-Covenas is often targeted by militants and paramilitary groups based in the restive Catatumbo region. Ecopetrol said that at least six attacks were so far reported in 2019. 

Social leader killed in armed attack in Tibu, Norte de Santander

A social leader has been killed in an armed attack in Norte de Santander. El Espectador reported that Jose Moreno was shot by men riding a motorcycle in the rural area of Tibu. Since the start of the year, over 17 social leaders were killed in Colombia. Most incidents are reported in areas where militant groups operate. They include towns across the Catatumbo region, such as Hacari, San Calixto, El Tarra and Teorama. 

ELN release soldier kidnapped in Villa del Rosario, Norte de Santander

A soldier has been released nearly a month after being kidnapped in Villa del Rosario, Norte de Santander. Angel Acevedo was abducted in early-January by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and taken to an undisclosed location near the Venezuelan border. Members of the ELN handed over Acevedo to a commission led by the People's Ombudsman and the Catholic Church. Villa do Rosario is located in the outskirts of Cucuta. Acevedo release comes days after three ELN hostages were handed over to the authorities. They were kidnapped after their cash-in-transit helicopter was downed in the Catatumbo region. 

Floodgates closed over potential structural risks in Hidroituango dam, Antioquia

Local authorities in Antioquia have ordered the closure of two floodgates from the iconic Hidroituango dam. The state-owned company EPM has said that the move is a preventative measure after a potential risk of failure were identified on the dam's engine room. Environmental groups are concerned over the impact of the Hidroituango closure may bring to the Cauca River, the country's second largest river. Last May, tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate after widespread flooding affected the dam. At least eight villages were at risk, including Puerto Valdivia, Taraza and Caceres, which are still on alert.

Cano Limon-Convenas pipeline hit in several attacks in Arauca

A fresh bomb attack targeted the Cano Limon-Covenas oil pipeline in Arauca, north-eastern Colombia. El Pais reported that the latest incident happened on Monday in the rural area of Saravena. Ecopetrol, Colombia's state-owned oil company, has warned that this is the fourth attack reported in the last four days. The company confirmed that more than 80 incidents were reported since the start of the year. Militant and paramilitary groups based in the departments of Arauca, Norte de Santander and Boyaca are often involved in the attacks.

Intense armed clashes break out in Morales, Bolivar

Intense clashes between the military and the National Liberation Army (ELN) have been reported in Bolivar, northern Colombia. El Universal reported that violent shootings broke out in the town of Morales when the military launched an operation over the weekend. Thousands of soldiers are expected to be deployed across southern Bolivar as part of the Marte Task Force, which seeks to tackle militant and paramilitary groups based in the region.

Dissident FARC leader killed in military operation in Caqueta

A dissident leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been killed during a joint military operation in Caqueta, southern Colombia. President Ivan Duque has confirmed that alias 'Roberto Cadete' was gunned down in the town of San Vicente del Caguan. Colombia's Defence Minister Guillermo Botero later confirmed that nine other militants were also killed in the raid. Botero said that over 200 special operations officers took place in the operation. FARC dissident fronts still operate in some areas in southern Colombia. They are mainly engaged in drug-trafficking, extortion and attacks against security forces. 

Several bodies found as suspected migrant vessel capsizes in Choco

Colombia's Navy has informed that at least seven bodies have been recovered on the Gulf of Uraba, north-western Colombia. According to a statement released on Thursday, the victims were on board a boat, which capsized while travelling between the towns of Capurgana and Sapzurro, Choco department. The military said that most of the people on board were illegal migrants. The Gulf of Uraba has been often used to smuggle undocumented migrants from Colombia to Panama. It is believed that the Clan del Golfo - also referred to as Los Urabenos - are involved in the lucrative human trafficking business in the region.

ELN leaders refuse to return to Colombia amid peace talks stalemate

The chief negotiator of the National Liberation Army (ELN), Pablo Beltran, said that leaders of the group will not return to Colombia. Under the embattled peace negotiations between the ELN and the government, it gives the ELN leader a deadline of 15 days to return to Colombia. Beltran said that the group is still trying to find a political solution. President Ivan Duque has previously requested the extradition of all ELN leaders in Cuba after the group claimed responsibility for a deadly bomb attack in Bogota. President Duque has recently launched a campaign that seeks the capture of three senior members of the guerrilla, including ELN leader alias 'Gabino'. President Duque has said that up to four billion pesos ($1.2m) would be given to those leading to their capture.

Intense fog may trigger flight disruption in Bogota

Colombia's Civil Aviation authority has warned that flights to and from Bogota's El Dorado International Airport (BOG) are facing disruptions. Due to low-visibility and intense fog reported on Thursday morning, some flights arriving at BOG may face delays. Travellers are advised to contact their respective airlines for further flight status updates.

Police arrest leader of Los Pelusos in Puerto Bello, Cesar

Colombian authorities have detained the leader of a major drug-trafficking group in Cesar, northern Colombia. According to the police, Reinaldo Franco, alias 'Pepe', was arrested during a joint operation in the town of Puerto Bello. Pepe was detained during 'Operacion Aden', launched to target the leadership of the Los Pelusos, a splinter dissident faction of the People's Liberation Army (EPL), which demobilised in 1991 - despite the EPL demobilisation, some members of Los Pelusos still refer themselves as EPL militants. The group is mainly engaged in drug-trafficking in the northern region of Catatumbo and southern Colombia

Clashes break out between militants groups in Corinto, Cauca

Clashes between the People's Liberation Army (EPL) and dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have broken out in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Military sources told El Pais that both groups engaged in armed clashes in the rural area of Corinto. A confrontation with the military also happened several hours later on Friday. Local community leaders have urged the population to remain indoors. FARC dissidents and paramilitary group are often engaged in clashes to secure drug-trafficking routes across Cauca. Such incidents often lead to the mass displacement in rural communities.

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Tumaco, Narino

Over 700 people have been displaced due to violent armed clashes in Narino, south-western Colombia. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said on Wednesday that most of those affected are afro-Colombians and indigenous people from several rural communities around Tumaco. OCHA revealed that numbers are expected to be higher as local authorities are still assessing the situation. Clashes erupted last week between the towns of Santa Maria and Pena de los Santos. Tumaco is a coastal town located near the Ecuadorian border. Paramilitary groups and dissident fronts of the FARC widely operate in the region.

Military to beef up landmine clearing efforts in Florencia, Caqueta

Colombia's military has announced plans to beef up landmine clearing operations in the southern department of Caqueta. Authorities confirmed that a massive terrain around the rural area of El Para in Florencia is planned to be cleared of explosive devices. Authorities aim at clearing nearly three times more terrain than last year. Antipersonnel landmines still cause damages and casualties across Colombia. Caqueta is claimed to be the worse hit department during the Colombian conflict. A member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) has said that, despite landmine casualties in Colombia suffered a significant decline, landmines killed at least a dozen people in 2018.

INTERPOL issues red notice for ELN chief negotiator

The INTERPOL has issued a red notice for the chief negotiator of the National Liberation Army (ELN). Colombian authorities have requested the international police body the immediate capture and extradition of Pablo Beltran, who is believed to be in Cuba. Authorities claim that he is being searched for kidnapping and theft. The red notice was issued just days after the ELN claimed a bomb attack in Bogota, in which 21 people were killed. President Ivan Duque has previously called on the Cuban government to extradite 10 ELN leaders, who have been on the island since the peace talks collapsed last year.

ELN militants target police station in Saravena, Arauca

Two civilians have been injured after suspected members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) targeted a police station in Arauca, north-eastern Colombia. EFE reported that the attack happened on Tuesday in the town of Saravena, where assailants targeted police officers with explosives. At least one suspected militant was killed. Meanwhile, in the department of Antioquia, another police station was targeted in the town of Anori. Both incidents happened just days after the ELN launched a car bomb attack in Bogota. The group is widely active in northern Colombia, especially in the Catatumbo region near the Venezuelan border.

President Duque to reinforce security to counter militant groups in Catatumbo region

President Ivan Duque has said that security measures will be reinforced to counter militant and paramilitary groups based in the northern region of Catatumbo. During a visit to the town of Tibu, President Duque said that he will order the deployment of more soldiers to the region to assist ongoing security operations against the National Liberation Army (ELN). Besides the ELN, groups such as the People's Liberation Army (EPL) and FARC dissidents are also known to operate in the region. The measures were announced after the ELN claimed responsibility for a bomb attack which killed 21 police officers in southern Bogota.

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Antioquia

Nearly 200 people have been displaced due to clashes between rival criminal groups in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), clashes broke out between the Clan del Golfo and a splinter faction of the group. Meanwhile, in Norte de Santander, over 400 people were also displaced due to violent clashes involving the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the military. OCHA reported that clashes initially broke out last week in the rural area of San Calixto. Paramilitary and militant groups operate in rural areas in Antioquia and across the Catatumbo region.

ELN claims responsibility for car bomb attack in Bogota

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has claimed responsibility for the car bomb attack that killed 20 police officers in southern Bogota. In an article published on Monday through its online platform, ELN Voces, the group said that the attack was legitimate and in compliance with the law of war. The group argues that the attack exclusively targeted a military institution used to develop intelligence and plan counter-insurgency operations. The group also urged the government to resume peace talks, which are stalled since President Ivan Duque took office. In response to the attack, President Duque has re-issued arrest warrants to 10 ELN leaders, who are believed to be in Cuba. The Cuban government said that it is still assessing their extradition to Colombia based on the guidelines predicted under the peace negotiations previously held in Havana.

ELN claims responsibility for kidnapping three crew members in Norte de Santander

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has said that they kidnapped three crew members of a helicopter that was forced to make an emergency landing in Norte de Santander. Earlier this week, a chartered helicopter operating on behalf of a cash-in-transit company was forced to make an emergency landing after shots were fired at the aircraft in the rural area of Hacari. Initially, an alleged letter from the People's Liberation Army (EPL) claimed responsibility for the attack, while they dismissed the kidnappings. However, a day later, the ELN also claimed responsibility for both the attack and the kidnappings. The government is still investigating both claims. The ELN and the EPL are often engaged in clashes to secure drug-trafficking areas in the restive Catatumbo region. The incident happened a day before a car bomb attack in Bogota.

ELN accused of orchestrating deadly car bomb attack in Bogota

Defence Minister Guillermo Botero has attributed the car bomb attack in Bogota to the National Liberation Army (ELN). Botero said in a press conference that the group is behind the attack that killed more than 20 people at a police academy in southern Bogota. Authorities later identified the vehicle's driver as Jose Rojas, also known as 'El Mocho'. He has been responsible for being linked to the ELN operations in the northern department of Arauca. It is alleged that the attack was being planned for nearly 10 months. President Ivan Duque said that investigations will be launched to capture all those involved. Government talks with the ELN are suspended after the group resumed kidnappings and attacks against security forces. Since President Duque took office, he reiterated that talks would restart talks only after the group ceased its operations.

Soldiers injured in armed attack in La Macarena, Meta

Two soldiers have been injured when suspected militants targeted them with shots and explosives in Meta, central Colombia. General Jairo Fuentes, the head of the Omega Joint Task Force, told reporters that the attack happened in the town of Playa Rica, located in the rural area of La Macarena. EFE reported that the incident occurred on Thursday afternoon. It is believed that the attack was led by dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The incident happened nearly three months after FARC dissidents killed two soldiers also in La Macarena. FARC dissidents usually operate in the Guaviare and Meta departments. They also have a strong presence in some southern departments along the Ecuadorian border. Last year, the government estimated that the number of FARC dissidents were around 1,000.

Local community leader killed in armed attack in Montecristo, Bolivar

A local community leader has been killed in an armed attack in Bolivar, northern Colombia. A local organisation said on social media that Victor Trujillo was killed in the rural area of Montecristo. EFE reported that it is believed that a front of the National Liberation Army (ELN) may be behind the attack. Trujillo has reportedly faced death threats for his work as an advocate of Campesinos and mining activities. Several social leaders were killed in Colombia since the start of the year. Paramilitary and militant groups based in rural areas across Colombia often intimidate and issue death threats to social and community leaders.

Police identify driver of car bomb that killed scores at police academy in Bogota

At least 20 people have been killed and 70 others injured after a car bomb exploded outside a police academy in southern Bogota. Attorney General Nestor Martinez has said that the driver of the vehicle has been identified as 57-year-old Jose Rojas from the bordering town of Puerto Boyaca, located in the northern department of Boyaca. It is still unclear which group is behind the attack, while there is no initial indication that the National Liberation Army (ELN) or other militant groups are involved in it. However, Martinez said that the vehicle was loaded with pentolite, a powerful explosive previously used by rebel groups. The attack happened on Thursday during a promotion ceremony at the General Santander Police Academy. Bomb attacks in Colombia sporadically occur in rural areas. This has been considered the deadliest attack in Bogota in 15 years.

Police officer killed in armed attack in Corinto, Cauca

A police officer has been killed after armed criminals ambushed his vehicle in Corinto, Cauca. Local media reported that the victim was taking a police patrol vehicle for a car wash when he was shot dead. Authorities are investigating the potential involvement of a FARC dissident. FARC dissident fronts and paramilitary groups widely operate in Cauca. They are often engaged in extortion and attacks against police officers.

Several killed in powerful blast outside police academy in Bogota

At least five people have been killed and several others were injured after a suspected car bomb went off near a police academy in southern Bogota. CNN reported that the incident happened on Thursday morning near the Escuela de Policia General Santander. El Pais reported that a graduation ceremony was scheduled to occur in the area later in the day. The police academy is located off the Autopista Sur in the Tunjuelito neighbourhood. Prosecutors and police officers are still investigating the incident. Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa confirmed the incident. People have been advised to avoid the area.

EPL militants open fire at chartered plane in Norte de Santander

Armed militants have opened fire on a chartered plane in Hacari, Norte de Santander. Local media reported that the plane was being operated by a cash-in-transit company and was forced to make an emergency landing in the town of San Jose de Tarra. Members of the People's Liberation Army (EPL) have claimed responsibility for the attack but dismissed allegations that they kidnapped two crew members and the pilot. Police are still investigating the incident. Militants of the EPL, the National Liberation Army (ELN) and paramilitary groups usually operate in the restive Catatumbo region, located near the Venezuelan border.

Missing FARC leader features in video to left-wing conference in Germany

Ivan Marquez, the former leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), has featured in a video as part of the Rosa Luxembourg International Conference, which occurred on Saturday in Germany. Marquez, who is missing for nearly six months, has criticised the Colombian government for not complying with the 2016 peace agreement. He accused the government of inefficiently reintroducing former militants into the civilian society and failing to protect former FARC members. However, he reiterated his commitment to the peace deal.  Marquez resigned as senator of the FARC political party, which is now called Common Alternative Revolutionary Force. The party currently holds seats in both houses of Congress. Marquez's whereabouts are unknown since another former FARC leader, Jesus Santrich, was detained on drug charges.

Social leader killed in armed raid near Florencia, Caqueta

A social leader has been killed after armed criminals raided his house in Caqueta, southern Colombia. Local media stated that the attack happened on Wednesday in the town of Cartagena del Chaira, located in the outskirts of the department capital of Florencia. Notiamerica revealed that Gutierrez was the community leader in Barrio La Victoria. He had previously received several death threats from criminal and paramilitary groups. Since the start the year, at least seven community leaders were killed in Colombia. Dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are known to operate in Caqueta.

Fresh bomb attacks hit Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline in Antioquia

The state-owned oil company Ecopetrol has stated that two new attacks targeted the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Reuters reported that the attacks happened overnight on Tuesday in the towns of La Pesquera and Las Blancas. This is the third attack to hit the pipeline in less than a week. Militant groups such as the National Liberation Army (ELN) are usually behind the attacks.

Nationwide march called to demand attorney general's resignation

A nationwide demonstration is being called on social media to demand the resignation of Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez. Social groups are calling for a march on Friday to protest his alleged involvement with the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht. Protests come after another key Odebrecht witness died after consuming cyanide. Back in November, the son of the former manager of the Ruta del Sol project died for the same reason. His father had previously accused Martinez of corruption. Protests are set to take place outside government buildings in major cities and department capitals from 18:00 local time.

Journalist killed during robbery attempt in La Guajira

A journalist has been killed during a presumed robbery attempt in La Guajira, northern Colombia. El Pais reported that Gabriel Garcia and several of his family members were heading from Cabo de la Vela to Uribia when they were targeted. Noticias RCN revealed that Garcia succumbed to his wound on his way to a hospital. It is believed that the attack happened after the victim stopped at an illegal roadblock. The practice is common in some rural roads in Colombia. Criminals and corrupted officers often request money to release the vehicle. In La Guajira, they are most common during the summer holidays in December and January.

Police investigate kidnapping of soldier in Norte de Santander

Police are investigating the kidnapping of a soldier in Norte de Santander. El Espectador reported that Angel Torres was targeted in Villa del Rosario. Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez said that Torres was targeted while riding his motorcycle and taken towards an undisclosed located near the Venezuelan border. Villa del Rosario is located in the outskirts of the bordering city of Cucuta. She reiterated government intentions to target militant and paramilitary groups such as the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the People's Liberation Army (EPL), which widely operate along the Venezuelan border and across Norte de Santander.

Odebrecht probe witness found dead at home in Bogota

A key witness in a corruption probe involving the Brazilian company Odebrecht has been found dead at his house in Bogota. Rafael Merchan, former minister of transparency during the Juan Manuel Santos administration, was found dead in late-December. Merchan was set to depose in favour of the head of the National Infrastructure Association (ANI), Luis Fernando Andrade, who is accused of concealing evidence of the Ruta del Sol project. Reports released last Tuesday revealed that Merchan was killed after consuming cyanide. This is the second Odebrecht witness killed in less than a month. In November, the son of Jorge Enrique Pizano, Alejandro Ponce de Leon, died after drinking cyanide - he died just days after his father suffered a heart attack. Investigations on Andrade are being held in cooperation with the US Justice Department.

Cano Limon-Convenas pipeline suspends operations after attack in Tibu

Operations of the Cano Limon-Covenas oil pipeline have been suspended after a bomb attack in Norte de Santander. State-owned company Ecopetrol has revealed that the attack happened in the rural area of Campo Giles in Tibu. This is the first attack on the pipeline in 2019 - last year, nearly 90 attacks were reported in the Cano Limon-Covenas. It is still unclear which group is behind the incident, which happened just a day after the ceasefire called by the National Liberation Army (ELN) expired. Tibu is located in the restive Catatumbo region, where militant groups operate.

Social leader killed in Santa Marta, Magdalena

A social leader has been killed after gunmen raided her residence in Santa Marta, Magdalena. Maritza Quiroz Leiva was shot dead on Saturday in her house in San Isidro, located in the rural area of Bonda. Quiroz was a member of a commission dedicated to female victims of the Colombian conflict. Santa Marta Mayor Rafael Martinez condemned the attack. It is estimated that at least five social leaders were killed in Colombia in 2019.

Community leader shot dead in Caicedonia, Cauca Valley

A community leader in the Cauca Valley was killed when armed criminals raided a store in Caicedonia. El Espectador reported that Jesus Perafan was shot dead on Tuesday. He was a local community leader and aspiring candidate to lead the Caicedonia town hall. It is still unclear if the attack is linked to his post. This is the second social leader killed in Colombia in 2019. Earlier this week, a community leader engaged in cultural activities was shot dead in Suarez, Cauca department. Rights groups reported that more than 160 social leaders were killed in the country during 2018.

US and Colombia to strengthen cooperation to tackle coca production

President Ivan Duque and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have vowed to strengthen cooperation efforts to significantly reduce the number of coca crops in Colombia. During a visit to Colombia, Pompeo raised concerns over the increasing number of lands used to cultivate coca. Colombia is the world's largest cocaine producer. The cooperation effort is the start of a new phase of investment intended to convince farmers to replace coca crops with legitimate ones. Since the early-2000s, the US has partnered with Colombia in an attempt to cut cocaine production - the US is the world's largest consumer of cocaine.

Soldier killed during military operation in San Calixto, Norte de Santander

A soldier has been killed during a military operation in Norte de Santander. Military sources told EFE that the victim died while taking part in a number of operations against the National Liberation Army (ELN) in the restive region of Catatumbo, near the Venezuelan border. The incident happened when tensions broke out in the town of San Calixto. Military operations were also taking place in the nearby towns of Teorama and Hacari. The clashes erupted despite a unilateral ceasefire launched by the ELN during the Christmas holidays. 

Thousands left stranded after wildfires hit forest park in Santander

Thousands of tourists were left stranded after a wildfire broke out near a popular recreational forest in Santander, northern Colombia. Reports stated that the fire erupted on New Year's Eve in the outskirts of La Mesa de los Santos, located near the village of Piedecuesta. The main road between the park and the department capital Bucamaranga was closed due to heavy smoke. No injuries were reported. The fire was controlled and extinguished after nearly 10 hours. Authorities believe that the fire was caused due to high and dry temperatures in the region.

UN raises concerns over death of former FARC militants

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has raised concerns over the number of deaths of demobilised members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In a report, Guterres called on President Ivan Duque to address the situation. Since the peace agreement was reached in 2016, at least 85 former FARC militants were killed. FARC is currently a political party with a presence in both houses of Congress. Former FARC militants are often killed by militant and insurgent groups based in isolated areas across Colombia.

Three Venezuelans arrested for plot to kill president

Three Venezuelans have been arrested in connection with a plot to assassinate President Ivan Duque. The suspects were detained with "weapons of war," according to Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo. Millions of people have crossed the border from Venezuela due to the severe economic crisis in the country, increasing tensions between the two states.

Psychologist working in FARC rehabilitation agency killed in Caqueta

A psychologist working with the rehabilitation of former militants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been found dead in a forest area in Caqueta, south-western Colombia. Viviana Munoz Marin worked for the Reincorporation and Normalization Agency (ARN) in San Vicente de Caguan. El Pais reported that she was found dead with gunshot wounds. Her husband told local media that she had previously complained over potential security risks in the area. The ARN was created on the initial phases of peace talks with FARC. Its main objective is the reintegration of former militants into civilian society.

Radio journalist killed in Riohacha, La Guajira

A radio journalist has been killed after armed criminals raided his home in La Guajira, northern Colombia. El Espectator reported that Victor Diego Cardozo was gunned down at his home in Riohacha. The circumstances behind the attack are still unclear. Colombia's Federation of Journalists (Fecolper) called on prosecutors to investigate the case. Diego was the host of a local morning show. He also collaborated in some media projects in Riohacha. 

Police investigate security incidents in Puerto Guzman, Putumayo

Police are investigating the deaths of two brothers who were reportedly kidnapped from their house in Putumayo, southern Colombia. Local media reported that their bodies were recovered during a police operation near El Gallinazo. Noticias Caracol has reported that two other people were kidnapped in the town of Puerto Guzman. Among them is a local community leader. It is still unclear who is behind the incidents and if they are connected. Putumayo is known for the increasing presence of paramilitary and militant groups often engaged with drug-trafficking. Dissident members of the FARC are also known to operate across the department.

Six killed in house massacre in Mapiripan, Meta

At least six people were killed in a massacre in Meta, central Colombia. Defense Minister Guillermo Botero has confirmed that soldiers were deployed to the rural area of Mapiripan to investigate the incident. It is still unclear who is behind the alleged attack. Local media reported that one of the victims is a minor. Mapiripan was the scene of a massacre in 1997, where paramilitary groups killed more than 200 people across the town. Mapiripan is located on the department border with Guaviare, where dissident FARC militants are known to operate - FARC dissidents also operate in some rural areas in Meta department.

Police officers injured after bomb attack in Casanare

At least two police officers have been injured when they were targeted in Casanare, northern Colombia. El Espectador reported that two traffic brigade officers were targeted with explosives on the road between the towns of Yopal and Pore. The attack happened on Monday afternoon, just a day before the visit of President Ivan Duque to Casanare, where he will sign a regional cooperation agreement.

Garcia Marquez' relative released in joint-operation in Magdalena

President Ivan Duque has confirmed that Melissa Martinez Garcia, a relative of prize-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, has been released in Magdalena, northern Colombia. Defense Minister Guillermo Botero said that anti-kidnapping military and police units launched a joint operation in the rural area of Palmar, where nearly a dozen suspects were arrested. Melissa was kidnapped in late-August while heading home in Santa Marta. Initial reports confirmed that the kidnappers demanded nearly $5m in ransom payment, excluding a potential political motive. Melissa works as a local banana farmer in northern Colombia.

ELN announces unilateral ceasefire ahead of Christmas holidays

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has announced plans to launch a unilateral ceasefire ahead of the Christmas holidays. In a statement, the group has said that the truce will be launched in all their territories between 23 December and 03 January 2019. Meanwhile, the group reiterated intentions to resume peace talks with the government. Discussions have stalled since President Ivan Duque took office in August. Unilateral ceasefires are common in Colombia, especially before and after religious holidays. Last week, the Clan del Golfo group also announced a unilateral ceasefire until 10 January 2019.

President Duque signs agreement to halt student-led protests

President Ivan Duque and student-led organisations have reached an agreement to put an end to ongoing protests. Since September, student groups are engaged in protests to demand further funding for higher education in Colombia. The sector is facing severe financial challenges due to a high budget deficit. President Duque agreed to allocate up to 4,5bn pesos ($1.4m) to finance higher education over the next four years. Despite the agreement being reached on Friday, student groups said that protests may continue in January - major student organisations said that no protests are scheduled for the rest of December.

Several injured in blast outside nightclub in Cordoba

More than a dozen people have been injured when a blast took place outside a nightclub in Cordoba, northern Colombia. El Heraldo reported that the incident happened on Sunday evening in the town of Montelibano. Reports suggest that an explosive device was thrown at football supporters who were celebrating outside the venue. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the attack are. Montelibano is located between Tierralta and Puerto Libertador, where violent criminal groups engaged in extortion and homicide widely operate. Militants of the Clan del Golfo are also known to operate in the region.

Court issues ban against Odebrecht for links to corruption

A court has barred the Brazilian-based company Odebrecht from operating in Colombia for the next 10 years due to the firm's links to corruption. The court in the central department of Cundinamarca has also issued a fine of up to 800m pesos ($251m). Dozens of high-level officials in Colombia - and across Latin American, Africa and Europe - have been implicated in massive bribery schemes involving millionaire public works contracts with Odebrecht. Earlier this month, the government nominated a special prosecutor to oversee the Odebrecht investigations.

Police dismantle suspected sexual exploitation ring in Colombia

Authorities have dismantled a sexual exploitation ring in Colombia. CNN Espanol reported that the group owned hotels, resorts and several tourist establishments in Santa Marta, Cartagena, Bogota and Medellin. Prosecutors said that several Israeli nationals were arrested. Attorney General Nestor Martinez said that the network leader, Benjamin Mush, is still at large. Reports suggest that the group mainly sold travel packages to Israeli tourists through promoting sexual tourism in Colombia. The arrests came as part of Operation Vesta - which targets criminal groups engaged in the sexual exploitation of women and minors.

Hundreds displaced due to clashes with the ELN in Choco

More than 300 people have been displaced due to violent armed clashes between the Colombian military and National Liberation Army (ELN) in Choco, north-western Colombia. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the clashes broke out last week in the town of Orpua, located in the rural area of Bajo Baudo. Most of those affected are members of several nearby indigenous communities. Indigenous and afro-Colombian communities in rural areas in Choco are often affected in military operations and territorial disputes involving the rival militant groups.

Clan del Golfo declares unilateral ceasefire ahead of Christmas holidays

Colombia's paramilitary Clan del Golfo have called for a unilateral ceasefire ahead of the Christmas holidays. In a statement released on Sunday, the group said: “We declare a unilateral ceasefire of offensive military action nationally in all of the areas where we are present, between Dec. 8, 2018, and Jan. 10, 2019. We invite all armed groups who are part of the conflict to adopt a similar position to ours, always with the goal of contributing to the cause of peace." The Clan del Golfo has previously launched unilateral ceasefires before major holidays and elections in a bid to engage in peace talks with the government. President Ivan Duque has launched a hard-line approach regarding peace talks with insurgent groups in Colombia. Talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) are stalled as the government demand the release of hostages.

Six lorries set a blaze at ELN blockade in Antioquia

Six lorries have been set ablaze after militants of the National Liberation Army (ELN) erected a blockade in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Authorities said on Sunday that assailants targeted several lorries along the main highway between Medellin and Valdivia. The road was closed for more than six hours before it was cleared for traffic. Further reports revealed that moments later the Colombian military clashed with ELN members in the area around Taraza and Valdivia, near where the blockade was in place. The incident happened in the Bajo Cauca region, where militant and paramilitary groups widely operate.

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Suarez, Cauca

More than 300 people have been displaced due to ongoing clashes between the People's Liberation Army (EPL) and the Colombian military in Suarez, Cauca. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), clashes are ongoing since late-November. Local organisations said that the latest clashes mainly affected rural and indigenous families in the rural area of Cerro Tijeras. Besides the EPL, FARC dissident fronts and paramilitary groups are also known for operating in the area.

Several killed in road accident in Cauca Valley

At least nine people have been killed and scores more have been injured in a bus crash in Cauca Valley. According to the police, the accident happened on Sunday when the chartered vehicle overturned along the road between Buenaventura and Buga. Colombia Reports revealed that the victims were part of a volleyball team which was travelling from Darrien to Yocoto. Preliminary investigations suggest that the vehicle's brakes suffered a malfunction.

Local indigenous leader killed in Caloto, Cauca

A local indigenous leader has been killed after gunmen stormed his house in Cauca, south-western Colombia. EFE reported that Edwin Dagua Ipia was the leader of a local indigenous group in Caloto. His family claimed that he was targeted by drug-traffickers who operate in the region. Edwin was known for coordination anti-drugs efforts relating to the cultivation of coca and marijuana crops. In a statement, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia condemned the attack. Official sources revealed that more than 300 social leaders in Colombia have been killed in the past two years.

Attorney General targeted in Congressional investigation over Odebrecht links

Colombia's lower house of Congress has opened a formal investigation against Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez for alleged links to the Odebrecht corruption scandal. Martinez is accused of covering up several investigations involving high-level officials. He denied any wrongdoing and said that the move is politically motivated. Colombia's Supreme Court has recently nominated a special prosecutor to handle Odebrecht cases after Martinez and his deputy was declared ineligible to lead the investigations. Odebrecht investigations in Colombia have already led to the detention of more than a dozen high-level officials.

Armed criminals kidnap student in Santander de Quilichao, Cauca

A 19-year-old student has been kidnapped in Santander de Quilichao, Cauca. El Pais reported that Dilmar Gomez was abducted on Tuesday evening in La Agustina area. Preliminary reports revealed that the victim was forced into a pick-up truck and taken towards the main road between Cali and Popayan. Gomez is the son of a local tradesman. Kidnappings continue to be common across rural areas in Colombia. Criminals often target community leaders and relatives of local businessmen.

Local candidate targeted in armed attack in Cartago, Cauca Valley

Security measures in the northern town of Cartago have been reinforced after an armed attack killed at least two people on Saturday morning. Local media reported that the attack was a presumed assassination attempt against a local candidate for mayor. The incident happened during a political rally at the town's La Isleta square. Cartago is located in the Cauca Valley, mid-way between Medellin and Cali. President Ivan Duque condemned the attack, while his Defence Minister, Guillermo Botero, said that a reward is being offered for any information leading to the detention of the attacker.

ELN leader detained in Monteria, Cordoba

Defense Minister Guillermo Botero has confirmed that a regional leader of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has been captured in Monteria, Cordoba. Botero said that Edwin Molina Ceballos, alias 'Zarco', was the mastermind behind the death of dozens of soldiers and several community leaders in the northern department. The ELN continues highly active across Colombia and still launch attacks against security forces. Talks with the group stalled after President Ivan Duque took office. His government reiterated on several occasions that talks will only resume once the ELN cease kidnappings. 

Three killed as severe weather trigger landslides in Quindio

At least three people have been killed after heavy rainfall triggered landslides and widespread flooding across western Colombia. Casualties were reported in the town of Calarca in Quindio, where severe weather hit the region over the weekend. Hundreds of families in the neighbouring Antioquia department were also affected, mostly in Copacabana, Bello and Guatape. Landslides also hit the towns of Genova, Buenavista, Cordoba, Pijao, Salento and Circasia. Weather conditions are forecast to improve in the next few days. Travellers are advised to follow updates from the Institute of Hydrology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM).

Indigenous leader killed after armed raid in Ricaurte, Narino

A local indigenous leader and his father have been killed when armed criminals raided a reserve in Narino, south-western Colombia. Colombia Reports revealed that the raid happened in the town of Ricaurte. Paramilitary and militant groups widely operate in Narino and along the Ecuadorian border. The region has also been the ground of operations by dissident FARC fronts. Since the FARC demobilisation, there has been an increasing number of attacks against social and indigenous leaders.

Local lawyer kidnapped near Aguachica, Cesar

A 34-year-old local lawyer has been kidnapped in Cesar department, northern Colombia. Andres Mena was targeted in a rural area between Montecitos and Los Angeles, near Aguachica, where heavily armed criminals raided his farm. The incident came several weeks after a local rancher was kidnapped in the region. The area is located in the so-called Catatumbo region, where criminal groups such as the National Liberation Army (ELN) and paramilitary groups widely operate.

Brother of Clan del Golfo's leader detained in Antioquia

Colombian authorities have detained the brother of alias 'Otoniel', the leader of the Clan del Golfo. Defense Minister Guillermo Botero has announced that alias 'Palillo' was detained in a joint operation in Necocli, Antioquia. Palillo was known for leading the organisation in the northern departments of Antioquia and Cordoba. Palillo was also in charge of the group's finances and cocaine production in northern Colombia. This is the second brother of Otoniel to be detained. In April, alias 'Chengo' was also arrested. The Clan del Golfo is the largest paramilitary group in Colombia. In previous occasions, the group announced intentions to hold peace talks with the government, but they were rejected.

Supreme Court request special prosecutor to handle Odebrecht cases

Colombia's Supreme Court has requested President Ivan Duque assign a special prosecutor to handle corruption cases involving the Brazilian-based company Odebrecht. The request comes after Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez and his deputy, Maria Paulina Riveros, were declared ineligible to assume the case over a potential conflict of interest. Odebrecht investigations in Colombia already led to the detention of more than a dozen high-level officials. The debate reignited this month after the son of a key witness died after he had apparently ingested cyanide - Jorge Enrique Pizano died of a heart attack in Spain just three days before his son.

Presumed FARC dissidents kidnap councilman's son in Cauca

The son of a local councilman has been kidnapped in Inza, Cauca department. El Pais reported that the victim was abducted from the councilman's house in the town of Inza. Councilman Jose Bernardo Guagas told local media that the assailants are presumed to be linked to a FARC dissident front. The incident happened on Wednesday evening. FARC dissident fronts still widely operate across Colombia. They are often engaged in kidnappings, drug-trafficking and armed attacks against government forces. 

Students call for nationwide strike to demand education funding

A massive nationwide strike is set to take place on Wednesday as student unions and associations march to demand more funding to higher education. Protests are expected to take place in more than 30 department capitals across Colombia, while teachers and education workers unions are also joining the protest. Severe traffic disruption is expected to occur in major cities, especially in Bogota. Travellers are advised to remain vigilant and avoid large gatherings as some protests in Colombia tend to turn violent.

Several killed in bridge collapse in central Colombia

At least five people have been killed and several others were injured when parts of a bridge under construction collapsed in central Colombia. EFE reported that the accident happened in a mountainous sector known as Chirajara, on the road between Bogota and Villavicencio, Cundinamarca. It is still unclear what caused the bridge to collapse. In January, nine workers were killed when an overpass collapsed on the same road.

Senate committee requests permission to engage in ELN talks

The Senate Peace Committee has requested the authorisation of President Ivan Duque to engage in negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN). In a statement released on Saturday, senators urged the president to allow them to participate in the talks in Cuba to explore further options to reach a potential peace deal. The request came days after senators visited the restive Catatumbo region in northern Colombia, where the ELN and paramilitary groups widely operate. On previous occasions, President Duque and high-level government officials said that talks with the ELN will only resume when the group cease its operations.

Chinese national killed in armed ambush in Cali

Police are investigating the death of a Chinese national who was shot dead during a presumed armed ambush in Cali. El Pais reported that the victim was a 53-year-old man identified as Lee Wen. According to the police, Wen lived in Cali for two years and worked as a business owner. Reports revealed that Wen and three other men were targeted on their vehicle in San Nicolas. The incident came a day after the public security secretary confirmed that no murder investigations were opened in Cali for at least 24 hours.

Adverse weather may impact flights across Colombia

Colombia's Civil Aviation authority has announced that due to severe weather conditions nationwide, some flights may face severe disruptions. Adverse weather has impacted operations in Bogota recently, while disruption has also been reported across other airports, such as Cali. Travellers have been advised to contact their respective airlines for further flight status updates.

Soldiers injured after landmine blast in Norte de Santander

At least three soldiers have been injured after they entered a minefield in Convencion, Norte de Santander. El Pais reported that the military was carrying out an operation in the Guarsiles Sur area when a soldier stepped onto a landmine. Convencion is located in the restive Catatumbo region, where several paramilitary and militant groups operate. The incident occurred nearly at the same time four soldiers were wounded in a blast in Tibu.

Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline suffers renewed attack in Cubara, Boyaca

Authorities have confirmed that an oil spill was reported in the north-eastern department of Boyaca after a renewed attack on the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline. According to military sources, the attack happened on Wednesday in the rural area of Cubara. Ecopetrol told Reuters that operations were not affected. The same area was affected in another attack in early-November. Authorities have attributed the latest attack to the National Liberation Army (ELN), but such allegations are still being investigated. Operations on the Cano Limon-Covenas are suspended since mid-August due to successive attacks in northern Colombia.

Explosive device wounds four police officers in Norte de Santander

At least four police officers have been injured while carrying out patrolling duties in Tibu, Norte de Santander. Local media reported that the incident happened on Wednesday morning when an explosive device went off. Tibu is located in the restive Catatumbo region, where paramilitary and militant groups widely operate.

President Duque to cut diplomatic relations with Venezuela

President Ivan Duque has announced that all diplomatic relations with Venezuela will be cut in January as his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, starts a new term in office. President Duque has accused the Venezuelan government of aiding militants of the National Liberation Army (ELN), allegations that Venezuelan Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez dismissed. President Maduro was re-elected in May after calling for early elections. The process was condemned by the international community, which is widely expected to sever diplomatic ties with the country.

Foreign ministry calls for arrest of ELN commander in Cuba

Colombia's foreign ministry has called the Cuban government to arrest a commander of the National Liberation Army (ELN) that is believed to be in Cuba. Nicolas Rodriguez, alias 'Gabino', has been recently nominated to take part in the ELN peace talks with the government in Havana. Colombian authorities called their Cuban counterparts to enforce an Interpol Red Notice to capture and later extradite Gabino back to Colombia. Earlier this month, the Colombian government called Cuba to release information on a number of ELN militants that are believed to be in the country.

ELN nominate senior member to integrate peace negotiations

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has announced the nomination of Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, alias 'Gabino', as the newest member of the peace negotiations table. ELN chief negotiator, Pablo Beltran, told the Colombian High Commissioner for Peace that Gambino will integrate the peace talks. Peace commissioner Miguel Ceballos said that the decision still has to be approved by President Ivan Duque. ELN talks were suspended after they failed earlier this year. The government said on multiple occasions that negotiations will resume once the ELN cease its operations.

Armed militants target electricity company staff in Cauca

Several employees of an electricity company in Cauca have been briefly held after armed militants ambushed their vehicle in Inza. Local media reported that three engineers of the Compania Energetica de Occidente (CEO) were attacked by militants presumably linked to a dissident FARC front. Preliminary reports suggest that they were the target of extortion. CEO condemned the attack and called the government to reinforce security measures in the region. In October, a CEO staff was killed during an attack in Corinto.

Thousands take part in student-led march nationwide

Thousands of people took to the street nationwide as part of a student-led protest. Teachers, students, indigenous groups and workers' syndicates marched across major cities to demand more funds to higher education in Colombia. Tensions escalated in some of the protests, but most of them were peaceful. The Colombian education sector has been under huge pressure since mid-October, when public universities engaged in strike actions due to lack of funding. Further protests are expected to occur over the weekend. Visitors are advised to remain vigilant and avoid large gatherings.

ELN release engineer kidnapped in Arauca

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has released an engineer who was kidnapped back in March near the Venezuelan border. The Ombudsman Office said that Jose Leonardo Ataya was handed over to a humanitarian commission in Arauca. No further details were revealed. Ataya, the manager of a public-owned company, was abducted when gunmen raided a shop in a rural area in Arauca. Reports suggest that he was taken cross-border in a canoe to Venezuela. Ataya was released moments after the ELN released a 'proof-of-life' video of another kidnapped engineer.

ELN release video featuring kidnapped engineer

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has released a 'proof-of-life' footage featuring an engineer who was kidnapped nearly 10 months ago. El Pais reported that the video was delivered to the family of Rafael Andres Riano. Andres Riano was abducted from the offices of the oil company Ismocol in Saravena, Arauca department. It is believed that the incident was orchestrated by alias 'Pablito', a senior member of the ELN that widely operate along the Venezuelan border. Talks between the ELN and the government are suspended since President Ivan Duque took office back in August.

Prosecutors investigate death of witness son in Odebrecht probe

Colombian prosecutors are investigating the death of the son of a key witness in a major corruption case in Colombia. Alejandro Pizano Ponce was the son of Jorge Enrique Pizano, a key witness in a corruption case involving the Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht. Preliminary reports suggest that Alejandro suspiciously died after drinking water contaminated with cyanide. Alejandro's father has died three days before in Spain, just after granting an interview where he accused Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez of corruption. Jorge, who was undertaking cancer treatment, reportedly died after suffering a heart attack. The case involves a massive bribery scheme linked to the management of the Ruta del Sol highway.

Cano Limon-Convenas pipeline targeted in Cubara, Boyaca

A fire broke out after a bomb attack hit the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline in northern Colombia. Reports revealed that the attack happened on Thursday afternoon near Cubara, Boyaca department. AP reported that a massive blaze reaching up to 10 metres engulfed a section of the pipeline, forcing services to be suspended after a massive oil spill. State-owned oil company Ecopetrol has said that 77 attacks have occurred in the pipeline since the state of the year. Paramilitary and militant groups, such as the National Liberation Army (ELN), are often behind such attacks.

Ombudsman warns of FARC dissident fronts in Buenaventura, Cauca Valley

Colombia's Ombudsman has raised concerns over the presence of FARC dissident fronts in Buenaventura, south-western Colombia. In a document addressed to Interior Minister Nancy Gutierrez, it is stated that nearly 13,000 people across several communities are at risk. Such regards violent territorial disputes involving two rival FARC dissident fronts in the areas near Yurumangui, Raposo, Cajambre, Mallorquin and Anchicaya. According to the document, the groups are engaged in threats, murders, recruitment, forced displacements and sexual harassment. Buenaventura is located west of Cali in the Cauca Valley. It is a strategically located port city, where criminal groups engaged in drug-trafficking widely operate. 

Former FARC militant shot dead in Convencion, Norte de Santander

A former militant of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been shot dead in Norte de Santander. Caracol Radio reported that Diofanid Rodriguez was killed in Campo Alegre, located in the rural area of Convencion. Rodriguez was granted amnesty after demobilising from FARC fronts amid a peace agreement with the government. Convencion is located in the restive Catatumbo region, where militant and paramilitary groups widely operate. It is estimated that nearly 70 former FARC members have been killed in Colombia since the peace deal was signed in 2016.

Powerful blast reported at prosecutor's office in Cali

A powerful explosion has been reported at the headquarters of the prosecutor's office in Cali. The incident was reported on Friday morning near the Plazoleta de San Francisco, where at least three blasts occurred. Local authorities are still investigating the incident, but the police said that there is no evidence that it was a bomb attack. Conflicting reports suggest that the blasts were caused after a power outage led to the activation of a stored explosive device. Such reports were not officially confirmed.

Kidnappers demand $5m to release Garcia Marquez's relative

Colombia's National Police has said that the kidnappers of Melissa Martinez Garcia, a relative to late prize-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, have demanded $5m for her release. Melissa was kidnapped back in August when assailants intercepted her vehicle near Santa Marta, located in the northern Caribbean department of Magdalena, where she owns a banana farm. Police Director Fernando Murillo said that preliminary reports suggest that the crime is being conducted by criminals who are not engaged with any paramilitary or militant activity. Although kidnappings in Colombia significantly reduced in recent years, independent criminal groups often kidnap prominent individuals for ransom.

ELN launches arson attack in Pajarito, Boyaca

At least four pieces of heavy machinery were set ablaze when suspected militants targeted a set of roadworks in Pajarito, Boyaca. Boyaca Governor Carlos Amaya has attributed the attack to the National Liberation Army (ELN). Military sources told Noticias Caracol that security in the area has been reinforced. The incident is the third to occur in recent weeks in Boyaca. Last week, a police officer was killed after an armed attack on a police station in Tunja. 

Several killed in shooting at a bar in Cauca

At least six people have been killed after gunmen raided a bar in the coastal Pacific city of Lopez de Micay, Cauca. According to the local mayor, the assailants targeted a bar in the rural area of San Antonio. It is still unclear which group is behind the attack. The region is known for the operation of FARC dissidents and the National Liberation Army (ELN), which are engaged in disputes to secure lucrative coca plantations along the Pacific coast. 

Engineer kidnapped in Saravena, Arauca

An engineer has been kidnapped on the outskirts of Saravena, Arauca. Jesus Rojas Parada was abducted by presumed members of the National Liberation Army (ELN). RCN Radio reported that Parada was kidnapped just moments before collecting his daughter from school. According to the police, an anti-kidnapping unit located Parada along the road between Saravena and Cubara. Saravena is located on the border with Venezuela, where paramilitary groups and the ELN widely operate.

Soldiers deployed to tackle militant groups in northern Colombia

More than 5,000 soldiers have been deployed along the Venezuelan border to tackle militant and paramilitary groups engaged in drug-trafficking. President Ivan Duque has announced the deployment to the restive region of Catatumbo, where groups such as the National Liberation Army (ELN), the People's Liberation Army (EPL) and several paramilitary entities widely operate. High levels of criminality, including murders and kidnappings, are often reported along the porous Venezuela border, especially in Norte de Santander and Arauca departments.

Landmine blast kills police office in Tumaco, Narino

A 23-year-old police officer has been killed after a landmine explosion in Narino, south-western Colombia. Defense Minister Guillermo Botero said that Naren Mora Rivera was killed while undertaking coca-eradication works in the coastal town of Tumaco. Four other people were also injured in the blast. The area is known for the operation of FARC dissident fronts and militant groups engaged in drug-trafficking. 

Police officer killed in armed ambush in Suarez, Cauca

A police officer has been killed and two others were injured during an armed ambush in Suarez, Cauca department. According to local authorities, the incident happened on Sunday in the area of Pizamos. Noticias Caracol reported that the patrol unit was ambushed while carrying an inmate. Suarez is a rural town located near Cali. A similar incident happened last week in the same department, where dozens of people armed with makeshift weapons targeted a police unit transporting a suspected member of the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Military makes massive drug bust off Narino coast

Colombian authorities seized more than 1.6 tonnes of cocaine during a military operation off Narino, south-western Colombia. The military told El Pais that the operation took place off the coast of Tumaco, a restive town in the Pacific where drug-trafficking groups widely operate. Reports revealed that six Ecuadorian nationals were detained when soldiers intercepted two vessels. The drugs are believed to belong to the Guerrillas Unidas del Pacifico, a FARC dissident group which leader was killed back in September. According to the Navy, more than 80 tonnes of cocaine were seized this year in Colombian waters.

FARC dissident leader accused of links to Sinaloa Cartel

President Ivan Duque has said that a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is currently engaged in drug-trafficking activities with the notorious Mexican-based Sinaloa Cartel. President Duque has alleged that the Oliver Sinisterra front, which has been engaged in a number of attacks and kidnappings, is responsible for liaising with Mexican cartel leaders to send drugs to the US. The front is led by alias 'Guacho', one of the most wanted men in Colombia. President Duque called Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to jointly act with Colombian law-enforcement to tackle the potential expansion of Mexican cartels in Colombia. 

Several injured in grenade attack in Hacari, Norte de Santander

At least six people have been injured in a suspected grenade attack in Norte de Santander. According to Noticias Caracol, the attack happened on Wednesday evening at a police station in Hacari. Reports suggest that after throwing a hand grenade, assailants opened fire on the building. It is still unclear which group is behind the attack. Hacari is located in the Catatumbo region. In June, security tensions significantly increased in the town due to clashes between the military and the People's Liberation Army (EPL). The EPL is also engaged in disputes with the National Liberation Army (ELN).

ELN renewedly rejects government calls to cease operations

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has again rejected government calls to cease its operations in order to resume peace talks, which have been stalled since President Ivan Duque was sworn into office in August. ELN's chief negotiator, Pablo Beltran, said that they are willing to negotiate, but such would come without pre-established conditions. President Duque has recalled the ELN to cease its operations and release all its hostages to resume peace talks. Such intentions were echoed during his visit to the Vatican, which has served a key role in monitoring previous negotiations.

Locals block police unit transporting ELN suspect in Cauca

Dozens of people armed with makeshift weapons have ambushed a police vehicle carrying a suspected militant in Cauca, south-western Colombia. DW reported that Didier Calvache, alias Conejo, the financial chief of a National Liberation Army (ELN), was being transported from the rural area of Pitalito to Popayan. El Espectador reported that no officers were injured, but the vehicle was set ablaze. Colombia's ministry of defence condemned the incident and said that investigations were launched. Previous incidents involving clashes with law enforcement have been reported in Cauca, where militant and paramilitary groups engaged in drug-trafficking activities widely operate. The most recent occurred several days ago in Argelia.

Four soldiers killed in helicopter crash near Argelia, Cauca

Four soldiers have been killed after a helicopter crashed during a military operation in Cauca, south-western Colombia. In a communique, the army said that the aircraft was taking part in a counter-narcotics operation in Argelia, where a major drug lab was dismantled. It is still unclear what caused the crash. Military operations in the region recently intensified to counter paramilitary groups and drug-traffickers linked to FARC dissidents.

Senate speaker proposes extension to presidential term

Colombia's Senate Speaker Ernesto Macias has proposed to extend the term of recently elected President Ivan Duque to five years. In a statement issued on social media, Macias, member of the ruling Democratic Centre (CD), proposed the move in order to coordinate the 2022 presidential vote with the regional elections scheduled for the following year. The announcement generated criticism from Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez, who said that any changes would be anti-democratic. Presidential terms in Colombia are currently four years, with a two-term limit.

Armed group launches attack against oil pipeline in Villagarzon, Putumayo

A pipeline of the Canadian-based Gran Tierra Energy has been targeted in a bomb attack in Putumayo, southern Colombia. Military officials confirmed that the attack happened on Friday in the rural town of Villagarzon, located in the outskirts of Mocoa, near the Ecuadorian border. It is still unclear which group is behind the incident. The area is known for the presence of the dissident fronts of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which in recent months have been engaged in a number of incidents, including bomb attacks and kidnappings.

Several killed due to landslides in Barrancabermeja, Santander

At least nine people have been killed when heavy rainfall triggered landslides in Santander, northern Colombia. According to local authorities, the incident happened in the early hours of Sunday in the town of San Silvestre, Barrancabermeja. Mayor Elizabeth Lobo announced that more than a dozen people were rescued, while further rescue operations are still being launched. Colombia is currently facing its second annual rainy season, which usually lasts until December. According to Colombia's National Unit for Risk and Disaster Management (UNGRD) nearly all departments have already been affected by the rainfall. Daily alerts and updates are provided by the Institute of Hydrology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM).

Thousands of students to march to demand university funding

Thousands of students and education professionals are set to take part in a massive demonstration to demand more funding to universities. Colombia's National Union of Higher Education Students (UNEES) has called for a march on Wednesday. The protest is scheduled to start at 12:00 local time. Students are calling President Ivan Duque to relocate up to $1.5bn from the national budget to higher education. Strike actions kicked off last Friday after talks with Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla collapsed. Travel disruptions are highly expected across Bogota and major cities.

President Duque rejects ceasefire calls from the ELN

President Ivan Duque has rejected calls of the National Liberation Army (ELN) to engage in a bilateral ceasefire agreement. While meeting with former Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar, Duque said that a ceasefire with the ELN will only be possible if the group completely halt its operations. Duque reiterated the government position on talks with the ELN, which had previously called his administration to resume peace negotiations started under his predecessor.

Former FARC militant shot dead in Corinto, Cauca

A demobilised member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been killed during an armed ambush in Cauca, western Colombia. El Pais reported that Mauricio Castaneda was driving his vehicle in the town of Corinto, when he was targeted while crossing the bridge over the La Paila river, located on the way to the town of Miranda. A number of former FARC guerrillas were already killed since the peace deal took place in 2016. The new-born FARC political party claims that more than 70 demobilised guerrillas were already killed in Colombia.

Soldiers killed during armed attack in La Macarena, Meta

At least two soldiers have been killed and three others were injured during an armed ambush in Meta, central Colombia. According to the military, the soldiers were targeted in the rural area of Atlantida, La Macarena. Reports suggest that the attack was carried out by FARC dissidents part of the so-called Estructura 40, which widely operate in the region and often target local business owners and farmers.

Business owner kidnapped in Ocana, Norte de Santander

A local business owner has been kidnapped when four armed criminals forced him into a pick-up truck in Ocana, Norte de Santander. According to the authorities, William Franco was abducted outside his home in the La Ermita area. Ocana is located in the restive Catatumbo region, where members of the National Liberation Army (ELN), the People's Liberation Army (EPL) and FARC dissidents are known to operate.

Thousands affected by heavy rainfall in La Guajira

More than 65,000 people have been affected as heavy rainfall continues to hit La Guajira department, north-eastern Colombia. According to the latest report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), most people affected were from the town of Uribia. Others areas affected also include the towns of Rio Racha, Fonseca and Dibulla. Heavy rain has been battering the region since early-October, forcing local governments to declare states of emergency across several rural communities, which house indigenous communities and Venezuelan migrants.

Landslide kills 11 in Marquetalia, Caldas

Nearly a dozen people have been killed and several others have been injured after heavy rainfall triggered landslides in the Caldas department, central Colombia. Reports from Colombia's National Disaster Risk Management Unit (UNGRD) revealed that several homes were destroyed after landslides hit the town of Marquetalia. Colombia is currently experiencing its second rainy season, which kicked off in mid-September and lasts until December. During this period, landslides and flooding are common, especially across departments located along the coast in the Andina, Caribbean and Pacific regions. Daily weather updates are provided by Colombia's Institute of Hydrology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM).

Activist and two sons killed in Cauca

A prominent rights activist and his two sons have been killed in Cauca province. Police said the three victims were found with signs consistent with torture at their home in the town of Bolivar. Jaime Rivera had led protests against state programmes against coca crops and was a supporter of the National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of Illicit Crops. The National Coordinator of Cultivators of Coca, Poppy and Marijuana (Coccam) denounced the killings and called on government officials to guarantee the safety of social leaders across the country.

Mayor's son release after being kidnapped in El Carmen, Norte de Santander

The five-year-old son of the mayor of El Carmen, Norte de Santander, has been released after a police operation. The victim was kidnapped on Wednesday morning when gunmen raided his school in the Guamalito area. El Carmen is located in the restive region of Catatumbo, where paramilitary and militant groups widely operate. 

Military launch air raids to target FARC dissidents in Antioquia

A joint operation has been launched to target members of a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) based in the north-western department of Antioquia. Air raids were reported in the area of El Cedral, located between the towns of Briceno and Ituango, where alias 'Cabuyo' is believed to widely operate. Cabuyo is the leader of the Front 36 of the FARC, which is accused of killing three geologists of the Canadian-based Continental Gold. They were killed last month, weeks after another Continental Gold engineer was also murdered in Antioquia.

INTERPOL issue red notice against ELN leader

INTERPOL has issued a red notice against the leader of the central command of the National Liberation Army (ELN) for links to murder and illicit recruitment. Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, alias Gabino, is the top leader of the insurgent group. He and the ELN leadership have been accused of orchestrating bomb attacks and kidnaps across Colombia. The notice has been previously requested by Colombia's top prosecutor, Nestor Humberto Martinez. The ELN is Colombia's largest guerrilla group. Despite some similarities with the FARC, ELN fronts operate more autonomously.

Clan del Golfo regional leader shot dead in Santafe, Antioquia

A regional leader of the Clan del Golfo group has been killed during a joint operation in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Authorities confirmed that alias 'Cole' was gunned down during a raid in the town of Santafe. Cole is believed to lead more than 300 paramilitary soldiers in the region and is engaged in extortion, drug-trafficking and clandestine mining. Intelligence officers said that he was one of the key leaders of the organisation as its operations generated high income to the group. Clan del Golfo has significantly expanded its operations across northern Colombia after the demobilisation of the FARC.

Kidnapped lorry drivers released in Buenaventura

Two lorry drivers have been released after being kidnapped by presumed criminals linked to the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Buenaventura, south-western Colombia. El Pais reported that the assailants abducted the victims near the town of Sabaletas. Reports suggest that a ransom payment of 30 million pesos was demanded ($10k) to liberate both drivers and the cargo reportedly valued at 100 million pesos ($33k). Buenaventura is a key port area in the Cauca Valley department, where militant and paramilitary groups widely operate, especially in rural areas.

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Ituango, Antioquia

Hundreds of people have been displaced due to armed clashes in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. El Colombiano reported that clashes broke out in the El Cedral area in Ituango. Local mayor Hernan Dario Alvarez said that intense shootings have been reported in the area on Thursday. FARC dissidents and Clan del Golfo paramilitary are believed to operate in the region.

Military release 17 kidnapped contractors in Zaragoza, Antioquia

Seventeen contractors to a state-owned company have been released during a military operation in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. According to the military, the victims worked for the Medellin-based EPM. They were kidnapped on Saturday in the rural area of Zaragoza. Reports revealed that a military operation was launched in the area known as El Pato, where soldiers clashed with presumed members of the Clan del Golfo. The Clan del Golfo is the largest paramilitary group in Colombia. It has significantly expanded across Antioquia since the demobilisation of the FARC.

Former FARC militant killed in Patia, Cauca

A demobilised militant of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been killed in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Reports revealed that Yon Samboni was killed in the southern town of Patia. El Espectador reported that he worked as a guard for the government's National Protection Unit (UNP). Members of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force party condemned the attack. The party claims that more than 70 former FARC members have been killed since the peace deal was signed in 2016.

Gunmen kill two coca growers in El Dovio, Cauca Valley

Two men engaged in the government-backed crops substitution programme have been killed during an armed ambush in the Cauca Valley, western Colombia. According to Caracol Radio, the men were attacked while riding a motorcycle in El Dovio. Both victims were coca growers who have been working with the local authorities since last year to replace coca crops with legitimate ones. Since the FARC peace deal, several Campesinos were killed for cooperating with the programme. A recent report from the UNODC revealed a significant increase to coca cultivation in Colombia last year.

ELN refuse to abide by Colombian law amid stalled talks

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has said that the group will not abide by Colombian law as negotiations with the government are suspended since President Ivan Duque took office in August. In a statement, the ELN accused the government of being unwilling to resume peace talks in Cuba and also of making unilateral demands. President Duque has called on the ELN to release all of its hostages before he considers the resumption of peace talks with the group. Last week, at least nine hostages were released by the ELN. The government is still in the process of nominating a new negotiator.

Three geologists of Canadian mining company killed in Antioquia

Three geologists have been killed and three others were injured in an armed attack in Antioquia, northern Colombia. The victims worked for the Canadian-based Continental Gold, which told Reuters that the attack happened on Thursday in the town of Ochali, Yarumal. The attack has been attributed to dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that, alongside other paramilitary and militant groups, widely operate in Antioquia. Earlier this month, a Continental Gold engineer was killed in another armed attack in Buritica, also located in Antioquia.

Coca cultivation significantly increases in Colombia despite peace deal

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released a report on Wednesday, which confirmed a 17 percent increase in areas of coca cultivation in Colombia. The Coca Cultivation Survey Report for Colombia has concluded that between 2016 and 2017, the departments of Antioquia, Putumayo, Norte de Santander and Cauca faced the biggest increases in coca production, while the most affected areas continue to be the south-western department of Narino. Despite government efforts to reduce coca plantations through crops substitution programmes, most coca cultivation in Colombia is still present in the same areas, which are mostly located in deep jungle areas and along both Ecuadorian and Venezuelan borders. Despite the FARC peace deal, militant and dissident groups expanded their operations across former guerrilla-held territories.

Eight killed as lorry ploughs into pedestrians in Cundinamarca

At least eight people have been killed and more than a dozen others were injured when a lorry ploughed into pedestrians in Cundinamarca, central Colombia. Emergency services said that the accident happened on a road between Guaduas and Puerto Salgar on Wednesday afternoon. Preliminary reports suggest that the accident happened due to a failure of the lorry's brakes. Road accidents in Colombia are common. They mainly occur due to reckless driving and poorly maintained vehicles.

President Duque removes government negotiator to ELN talks

President Ivan Duque has ordered the removal of the government's chief negotiator in the talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN). The government claims that the move is administrative and that it will nominate a new negotiator as soon as the ELN meet their demands. Since President Duque was elected, he set a 30-day deadline to assess developments in the talks. He demanded the ELN to release all its hostages to allow talks to be resumed. So far, the ELN has released a number of soldiers and civilians, while claiming that the government is unwilling to negotiate despite the group's efforts.

ELN release kidnapped youngster in Choco

A 16-year-old girl has been released after being kidnapped by the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Choco, north-western Colombia. Mayerli Cortes Rodriguez was abducted nearly two weeks ago in Bajo Baudo. Rodriguez was kidnapped just after several victims were freed by the ELN. In a statement, the ELN criticised the government of compromising the group's intentions to release hostages and engage in negotiations. President Ivan Duque asked the ELN to release all hostages and to resume long-stalled peace talks.

Three injured in grenade attack in Tumaco, Narino

At least three people have been injured during a suspected grenade attack in Tumaco, Narino. Local media reported that a grenade was launched at a police patrol unit in the Maria Auxiliadora neighbourhood. The incident happened on Tuesday evening and led to the injury of two civilians. Security measures in the city have been heightened amid ongoing operations to capture alias 'Guacho', the head of a FARC dissident front.

Government condemns Venezuelan military incursion in Vinchada

The government has accused the Venezuelan military of violating the country's sovereignty after 20 members of the National Bolivarian Guard (GNB) made an incursion in Vinchada, north-western Colombia. According to the government, the incident happened in the Maipures Island, located along the bordering Orinoco River. Reports suggest that three Colombian nationals were detained during the raid. Allegations of border sovereignty violation have been previously reported by both sides. The latest happened in August when GNB forces were deployed in Norte de Santander.

Flooding affects thousands in Arauquita, Arauca

At least 2,000 people have been affected after heavy rainfall triggered widespread flooding in Arauca, northern Colombia. Most families live in the town of Arauquita, located near the Venezuelan border. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the neighbourhoods of Los Pinos, Primero de Julio and El Centro were the most affected. Colombia's Institute of Hydrology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) has issued an alert to the town due to the potential overflowing of the Arauca river. The alert is active until Thursday.

FARC dissident leader injured during military operation in Narino

The leader of a FARC dissident front based in the southern department of Narino has been reportedly injured during a military operation. According to military sources, alias 'Guacho' was injured in the early hours of Saturday morning during an operation across Roberto Payan, located in the rural area of Tumaco. Thousands of soldiers were deployed to monitor health centres, hospitals, border crossings and major roads in a massive crackdown against the Oliver Sinisterra Front. Guacho is responsible for a number of kidnaps and bomb attacks in Ecuador and Colombia.

UN Mission in Colombia extended until September 2019

The UN Security Council has unanimously approved the extension of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. In a vote held on Thursday, all 15 Security Council members voted to adopt Resolution 2435, which allows the extension of the UN mission mandate until late-September 2019. The mission was initially launched for 12 months to monitor the aftermath of the peace deal between the government and the FARC.

Government sets target to eradicate coca crops

President Ivan Duque has said that the government plans to eradicate up to 150,000 hectares of coca plantations within the next four years. Since the peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the government has launched programmes to substitute coca crops with legitimate ones. Some areas have been facing extreme resistance due to pressure from paramilitary groups or the inability to cultivate alternative crops. President Duque said that he is also considering to reintroduce aerial fumigation, which was banned three years ago due to health concerns.

Flooding affects thousands in Apartado, Antioquia

More than 3,000 people have been affected when heavy rainfall triggered widespread flooding across Apartado, Antioquia. At least six neighbourhoods across the town's urban area were completely flooded. Apartado is located in northern Antioquia, close to the Gulf of Uraba on the Caribbean Sea. Northern Antioquia usually experiences most of its rainfall during September and October.

ELN release six hostages in bid to resume peace talks

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has released six more hostages on Wednesday as the group seeks to resume peace talks with the government of President Ivan Duque. The International Committee of the Red Cross said: “We accompanied the humanitarian commission that facilitated the release of six people who were being held by the ELN since August. We’re happy that you will soon be able to reunite with your families”. Among them were three soldiers, a police officer and two civilians. The release took place in the north-western department of Choco. Three soldiers were released last week in Arauca. Earlier in the week, the ELN rejected government calls to release all of its hostages as a condition to resume talks.

Missing FARC leaders claimed to be committed to peace deal

Colombia's Attorney General has stated that missing leaders of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) are still committed to the peace process despite their disappearance. The announcement came after prosecutors received a letter from former FARC leader Henry Castellanos, stating that they are still abiding by the guidelines predicted under the peace deal. Castellanos alongside several other FARC leaders were reported missing in recent months. Tensions with the government escalated when alias 'Jesus Santrich' was detained for drug charges. 

Medellin airport shutdown due to inclement weather

Adverse weather conditions are impacting operations at Medellin's Olaya Herrera Airport (EOH) on Wednesday. The airport is currently closed, while more than a dozen flights are facing severe delays. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates before heading to the airport. EOH mainly serves regional and domestic flights.

Armed clashes displace hundreds in Taraza, Antioquia

Armed clashes involving rival criminal groups have led to the displacement of nearly 740 people across several rural areas in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that tensions erupted last week across several rural communities in Taraza. OCHA further highlighted concerns about the death of social leaders and threats against civilians across campesino villages. 

Community leader found dead in Antioquia

A community leader has been found dead several days after being reported missing in Medellin, Antioquia. Leidy Correa Valle was the community leader in the rural area of Guayabal de Pena. Local authorities claim that her death may be gender-motivated. Dozens of social and community leaders have been killed nationwide in recent months. Correa Valle's death also raised concerns over gender violence in Colombia, where women's rights groups claim that nearly 760 women were killed in the country during 2017.

Hundreds affected due to armed clashes in Choco

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said that nearly 2,000 people are being currently affected due to armed clashes in Choco, north-western Colombia. In the latest update released on Friday, OCHA revealed that more than 60 families were displaced while nearly 320 are isolated. Most of them are spread across 12 indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities in Jurado and Bahia Solano. For months, thousands of people have been displaced due to clashes between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Clan del Golfo.

ELN rejects government demands to resume peace talks

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has rejected demands of President Ivan Duque to resume peace talks. President Duque has reiterated over the weekend that he will only allow talks to be resumed after the ELN release all of its hostages. The ELN has accused the government of making the handing over of hostages more difficult while calling such demands unacceptable. Talks with the government kicked off during the administration of Juan Manuel Santos and since then has been facing a number of setbacks due to the group's engagement in kidnapping activities.

Dissident leader killed in Tumaco, Narino

A FARC dissident leader has been killed during a military operation in Narino, south-western Colombia. Alias 'David' was the leader of a dissident front based in Tumaco, where more than 120 members were engaged in kidnapping, drug-trafficking and extortion. David is believed to be linked to the infamous Mexican-based Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG) and to fight for control against another FARC front based in Narino. Several FARC dissident fronts still operate in southern Colombia, especially in jungle areas along the Ecuadorian border.

Three FARC dissidents killed in Calamar, Guaviare

Three FARC dissidents have been killed during armed clashes with the military in Guaviare, central Colombia. According to the military, the suspects were killed in the town of Las Brisas del Itilla, located in the rural area of Calamar. It is believed that they were members of a dissident front dedicated to extortion and drug trafficking along the Itilla River. Several high-calibre weapons and explosives were seized at the scene. FARC militants who rejected the peace agreement continue to be active throughout several departments in Colombia, especially in Guaviare and Meta.

Landslides block major highway between Medellin and Bogota

Several stretches along the main highway between Medellin and Bogota have been blocked after heavy rainfall triggered landslides. According to reports, the landslides happened along the Highway 60 near the towns of San Luis and Cocorna. Local authorities said that Highway 60 has been facing some setbacks due to changes to management, which forced the emergency services to advise people to avoid it. Heavy rainfall is forecast to continue in the region throughout the next few days.

Former FARC leaders abandon special zones in south-eastern Colombia

The UN Verification Mission in Colombia has confirmed that six former leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) abandoned special reincorporation zones in south-eastern Colombia. It has been reported that in recent weeks more than 1,500 demobilised guerrillas joined them. The mission underlined that such is a violation of the peace accord with the government. At least three senior FARC party members were already reported missing, including Ivan Marquez, the second in command after Rodrigo Londono.

Engineer killed in armed ambush in Buritica, Colombia

An engineer of the Canadian-based Continental Gold has been killed following an armed ambush in northern Colombia. Reports suggest that the victim was shot dead while travelling at a company-owned vehicle in Buritica. Another engineer was also injured in the attack. Continental Gold has significantly expanded its operations in Buritica, where a massive plant is being built. Militant and paramilitary groups widely operate in Antioquia. They have been responsible for attacks against security forces and, in some cases, against workers from energy and power companies

Armed clashes displace hundreds in Narino

More than 640 people have been displaced due to armed clashes reported across Narino, south-western Colombia. According to the latest updates from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), during the last week of August, violent clashes broke out in the rural areas of El Charco and Barbacoas. Most of them involved rival armed groups and FARC dissidents. Since the demobilisation of the FARC, armed clashes in southern Colombia have intensified, especially near the Ecuadorian border and coastal areas.

ELN release kidnapped soldiers in Arauca

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has released three soldiers who were abducted nearly a month ago in Arauca, north-eastern Colombia. President Ivan Duque confirmed the move. The soldiers were handed over to members of a humanitarian commission in a rural area of Arauca. President Duque called for the release of all hostages that are being currently held by the ELN to allow peace talks to resume. Talks between the ELN and the government came to a halt after the group re-engaged in kidnapping and attacks in northern Colombia.

State of emergency declared over oil spill in Teorama, Norte de Santander

An environmental state of emergency has been declared over an oil spill on the Cano Limon Covenas oil pipeline in Teorama, Norte de Santander. The state-owned oil company Ecopetrol has said that the oil spill affected the area around La Llana and the Catatumbo River. Contingency measures were launched to limit wildlife contamination, while investigations remain ongoing. The Cano Limon Covenas is one of the most important oil pipelines in Colombia. It has resumed operations in July after dozens of attacks, mainly orchestrated by the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Local official shot dead in Norte de Santander

City councilor Alirio Antonio Arenas Gómez has been shot dead outside his house in the Belen district of Ocana, Norte de Santander. Another person was wounded in the incident, which occurred in the early hours of Monday morning. Gómez, a member of the Movimiento Alternativo Indígena y Social (MAIS), had previously requested increased protection measures.

Man killed in Medellin shooting

A 63-year-old man has been killed and five others wounded in a shooting in Medellin. The incident happened in the Cordoba suburb in the seventh district on Saturday night. Early indications suggest the incident was a targeted contract killing, with the deceased victim receiving multiple gunshot wounds. Crime figures for 2018 suggest the seventh district is the third most dangerous in the city.

Spanish president offers to host ELN talks in Spain

Spain's President Pedro Sanchez has offered his Colombian counterpart, Ivan Duque, to host in Spain a potential round of talks between the government and the National Liberation Army (ELN). The intentions were revealed during an interview to Caracol Radio. Sanchez recently visited Colombia as part of his tour in Latin America. Talks with the ELN were initially held in Ecuador, but they moved to Cuba after a series of security incidents involving militant groups occurred along the Ecuadorian border.

FARC officially declared as government opposition

The Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) has officially declared opposed to the government of President Ivan Duque. FARC's leader Rodrigo Londono said in a statement that the new government is not centred on the people and is shifting to potential changes predicted under the FARC peace deal. Colombia's government has been long criticised by the newly established party for reportedly failing to honour some aspects of the peace agreement. Earlier this month, the FARC condemned the disappearance of Ivan Marquez, who was reported missing in Caqueta.

ELN attack kills one soldier in Arauquita, Arauca

A soldier has been killed and three others were injured when presumed members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) targeted a military patrol in Arauca, northern Colombia. Military sources revealed that the attack happened on Monday evening in El Troncal, located in the rural area of Arauquita, near the Venezuelan border. ELN militants are highly active in Arauca, especially in areas close to the porous border with Venezuela.

Five children killed in house fire in Tierralta, Cordoba

At least five children have been killed after a fire broke out at a house in Cordoba, northern Colombia. Local media reported that the incident happened in Crucito, located in the rural area of Tierralta. According to the authorities, the fire was caused by a candle which had been left burning in the children's room. Reports suggest that the sleeping children were left unattended during the night.

Four killed as violent shooting breaks out in Cali

At least four people have been killed after a shooting broke out in Cali, western Colombia. El Pais reported on Saturday that a violent shootout erupted in the El Vergel neighbourhood. According to the police, the incident involved two rival criminal groups based on the outskirts of Cali. 

Anti-corruption referendum fails to pass due to lack of voters

An anti-corruption referendum in Colombia has failed to pass after it did not meet the minimum number of voters. Although all seven proposals were overwhelmingly approved, they fell short of the minimum number of votes required to make the referendum valid. Among the measures were plans to introduce stronger sentences for those linked to corruption; lower wages for congress members; and more transparency in politicians' finances. In order to be binding, the referendum needed to register 12 million votes, but it only recorded nearly 11.5 million. The measures are now set to be discussed in Congress or to be introduced via a presidential decree.

Colombia to quit UNASUR in protest against Venezuela

President Ivan Duque has announced that Colombia is set to withdraw from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). President Duque said in a statement that: "Today with precise instructions, the foreign minister sent UNASUR the letter where we denounce the constituent treaty of that entity and in six months our withdrawal will be effective." The move comes to apply further pressure against Venezuela, which is one of the co-founders of the group. Argentina and several other countries have previously announced plans to leave the regional block.

Two former FARC militants killed near Cali, Cauca

Lawmakers of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) have condemned the presumed assassination of two demobilised FARC guerillas in Cauca, souther-western Colombia. According to Yerson Sanchez Garcia, both victims were found near a river in a rural area between Corinto and Miranda, near Cali. They claim that the area was located close to a military checkpoint. The incident came several days after another former FARC guerilla was killed in Tolima. A rights group, Indepaz, claim that one demobilised FARC militant is killed in Colombia every six days.

Kidnapped left-wing activist found dead in Puerto Rico, Meta

A member of the left-wing party Patriotic Union (UP) has been found dead just a few days after being kidnapped in Meta, central Colombia. Jefferson Arevalo was reported missing earlier this week. He was found dead on Thursday in the rural area of Puerto Rico. Rights group Reiniciar condemned his death and called for further investigations. Reiniciar said that Arevalo's wife was also attacked. UP was formed back in the 1980s after a peace deal between the FARC and the government - more than 3,500 UP members are believed to have been killed by paramilitary and government forces between the 1980s and 1990s.

Senior ELN officer detained in El Tarra, Norte de Santander

A senior financial officer of a National Liberation Army (ELN) front has been detained during a military operation in the restive Catatumbo region, north-eastern Colombia. President Ivan Duque said that alias 'Bryan' was detained alongside four other members of ELN's Northeastern Front in El Tarra, Norte de Santander. The arrests came as part of a crackdown against the ELN, which ceasefire talks recently collapsed. The region is at the centre of violent territorial clashes involving the ELN and paramilitary groups.

FARC condemn attack against demobilised guerrilla in Tolima

The Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) has condemned a bomb attack against a demobilised FARC guerilla in Tolima, central Colombia. The party claims that a former FARC member was targeted at his house in the southern rural town of Planadas. Police said that investigations have been launched. Since the FARC demobilisation, several former members have been systematically targeted across Colombia. Such attacks have largely hindered relations between the FARC political party and the government.

Government condemns Venezuelan military deployment in Norte de Santander

Colombia's foreign ministry has released a statement condemning a military incursion led by Venezuela's Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) in Norte de Santander, north-eastern Colombia. In a note released on Tuesday, the government accused Venezuela of deploying two military helicopters and more than 30 GNB soldiers to the area of Vetas de Oriente in Tibu. Allegations of border sovereignty violation have been previously reported by both sides. The region is known for the presence of militant and paramilitary groups that often operate cross-border from and into Venezuela.

Alleged boss of Medellin-based group detained in Sucre

A senior member of the Oficina de Envigado criminal group has been detained during a police operation in Sucre, northern Colombia. Alias 'Pichi' is the suspected leader of the group, which is based in Medellin and considered one of the most influential drug-trafficking entities in Colombia. He is believed to have replaced alias 'Tom', who was detained back in December. Since then, a surge in violent territorial disputes has been reported in western Medellin.

ELN release video of kidnapped soldiers

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has released fresh video footage featuring three kidnapped soldiers who are being currently being held by the group after being captured earlier this month. The video comes just days after a proof-of-life audio file was released by the group. The ELN criticised the government for not expediting emergency protocols to release the hostages, who were kidnapped in Tame, Arauca department. Currently, there are nine people being held by the group, including two civilians, three police officers and four soldiers.

Indigenous leader shot dead in Tumaco, Narino

An indigenous leader has been killed after gunmen targeted him outside his home in Tumaco, Narino. El Pais reported that Olmedo Niscue was shot on Sunday evening in La Guayana area. Reports suggest that Niscue and several members of his organisation suffered death threats in recent weeks. A local indigenous governor said that they started in early-July after several FARC dissidents were killed in a military operation in the region.

Six drug-traffickers linked to Ecuadorian crash detained in Tolima

Six members of a drug-trafficking group linked to a deadly bus crash in Ecuador have been detained in Tolima, central Colombia. According to prosecutors, the suspects are members of the group known as 'Los Mercaderes de la Frontera', which often use transports disguised as tour buses to distribute drugs across Colombia and Latin America. At least 20 people were killed last week when a bus travelling from Colombia crashed near Quito. Nearly 600 kilos of drugs were found inside the vehicle.

FARC leader missing after reportedly escaping camp in Caqueta

The leader of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC), Ivan Marquez, has been reported missing alongside a former guerilla general in the southern department of Caqueta. FARC Senator Veronica Sandino said that Marquez left without a trace a compound of demobilised FARC militants in Miravalle. Reports suggest that he fled the scene before hooded assailants approached the camp. Sandino said that Marquez had previously condemned military operations near the compound. He moved to the area back in April in protest for the detention of the Jesus Santrich.

Thousands affected due to armed clashes in Choco

Thousands of indigenous people have been affected due to violent clashes between the Clan del Golfo and the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Choco, north-western Colombia. According to a report released on Thursday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 3,600 people are unable to access food, medicine and services across more than a dozen communities in the towns of Riosucio, Carmen del Darien and Bojaya. 

ELN release 'proof-of-life' audio of kidnapped soldiers

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has released 'proof-of-life' audio records of four soldiers kidnapped last week in Arauca, northern Colombia. EFE reported that the recordings portray a dialogue between the victims and a man identified as 'Comandante Uriel', which confirms that their release is expected to be completed in the next few days. Earlier this week, the defence ministry launched an emergency protocol to release all nine hostages currently held by the ELN.

Police department in Medellin investigated for links to kidnapping

Investigations have been launched into a group of police officers based in Medellin for suspected links to kidnapping and extortion. More than 10 police officers in the north-western city have been detained in recent months for alleged links to a group known as 'Los Magnificos'. The gang is composed of former and current police officers established back in 2015. It is believed to have ties to the infamous Oficina de Envigado, the origins of which date back to the Medellin Cartel. 

Community leader gunned down in Aracataca, Magdalena

A 30-year-old community leader has been killed in a shooting in Magdalena, northern Colombia. Local media reported that Alfredo Palacio Jimenez was shot dead when two men on a motorcycle opened fire at him in Aracataca. Jimenez was a member of the local community assembly. In recent months, social leaders across Colombia have been systematically targeted. Most of them have been attacked amid intimidation campaigns from militant and paramilitary groups.

Defense ministry activates protocol to release nine ELN hostages

Colombia's Defense Ministry and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have activated emergency protocols to release nine people held by the National Liberation Army (ELN). Among them are three soldiers who were kidnapped last week in Arauca. In a statement, the government emphasised that their release may not be conditioned by ELN demands. President Ivan Duque called the ELN to immediately cease kidnapping activities and to release all of their hostages. Peace talks came to a halt after the ELN and the government failed to reach a ceasefire.

Right-wing paramilitary group issue threats in the Cauca Valley

Members of the so-called Aguilas Negras group have issued threats against social leaders and politicians in Cauca Valley, south-western Colombia. In a document that emerged on social media, the group's Western Front praised the election of President Ivan Duque and said that it would target all left-wing opposition. The Aguilas Negras is a self-denominated right-wing group with paramilitary roots. The composition of its command structure is unclear as some former paramilitary adopted the group's name to protect their drug trade and economic interests in rural areas.

Thousands evacuated due to floods in Mocoa, Putumayo

More than 30,000 people have been evacuated after heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding in Putumayo, southern Colombia. A weather alert issued to the town of Mocoa has been lifted after conditions significantly improved on Sunday. The towns of Puerto Guzman and Villagarzon were also heavily affected. Last year, hundreds of people were killed when a powerful landslide hit Mocoa. Back in April, investigations led by the National University of Colombia concluded that intense rainfall may still cause local rivers in Mocoa to overflow and trigger further landslides.

Judges order arrest of ELN members linked to child recruitment

Judges have issued more than a dozen arrest warrants against members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) for their involvement in the recruitment of children. Prosecutors said that "the guerrilla group maintains its criminal activity with the forced use of children and adolescents" aged between seven and 17 years of age. Former President Juan Manuel Santos failed to reach a ceasefire deal with the ELN before he left office last week. His successor, Ivan Duque, recently announced that potential revisions to the talks, which is expected to be launched in the next few weeks.

Large crowds expected ahead of local celebrations in Medellin

Large crowds are expected to gather on the streets of Medellin ahead of a local celebration over the weekend. Travel disruption will likely impact some areas in central Medellin due to road closures. A march will take place from the Calle 25 to Plaza Gardel. Most parts of the Guayabal Avenue will be closed. Travellers heading to Medellin's Olaya Herrera Airport (EOH) should anticipate journey delays and allow extra time before scheduled flights - EOH mainly operates regional and domestic flights.

Three soldiers kidnapped in Fortul, Arauca

Three soldiers have been kidnapped after criminals targeted their vehicle in Arauca, northern Colombia. Military sources confirmed that the victims were wearing civilian clothing when a public transport vehicle was attacked on Wednesday afternoon in Fortul. The victims were reportedly heading to the town of Tame. Preliminary investigations suggest that the Doming Lain Saenz Front of the National Liberation Army (ELN) is behind the kidnapping. President Ivan Duque announced a revision to the ELN talks, which is recent days collapsed after both parts failed to reach a ceasefire deal.

Thousands of migrants stranded at Rumichaca border crossing

Thousands of Venezuelans are currently stranded at the Colombian-Ecuadorian border waiting to cross into the country. It is estimated that more than 10,000 people are currently waiting to cross the Rumichaca International Bridge, which last year received more than 230,000 Venezuelans. Ecuador's migration minister, Santiago Chavez, told El Comercio that authorities are monitoring developments in the area after more than 3,200 people crossed the border on Monday. Ecuador and Colombia are one of the main destinations for Venezuelan fleeing from the country's turmoil.

Social leader killed in Cajibio, Cauca

A social leader has been gunned down during an armed ambush in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Local media reported that Uriel Rodriguez was targeted on Tuesday evening at a store in the town of Cajibio. Caracol Radio revealed that a pro-peace event was taking place in the town, where a number of government officials and UN representatives were attending. Social leaders denounced the presence of paramilitary groups often linked to intimidation and attacks against rights advocates. In recent months, dozens of social and rights leaders were killed nationwide.

President Ivan Duque takes office

President Ivan Duque has taken office on Tuesday. Duque is a member of the centre-right Democratic Centre (CD), the same party of former President Alvaro Uribe. He is set to face a number of challenges, including enforcing the guidelines under the FARC peace agreement, which he said to respect but may introduce some changes. Duque also confirmed that his government will evaluate the progress of the talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN). Other challenges include increasing diplomatic tensions with Venezuela, which political crisis threatens to spill over Colombia.

Police officer killed in bomb attack near Cali, Cauca

A police officer has been killed and three others were injured when a bomb exploded near Cali, Cauca department. Reports revealed that an explosive attached to a motorcycle went off close to a police station in Padilla. Militant and paramilitary groups often launch attacks against security forces in Cauca, especially around rural areas. Last week, a soldier was killed in clashes with the National Liberation Army (ELN) in El Tambo.

Two social leaders killed in Antioquia

Two social leaders have been killed in separate attacks in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Hernan Chavarria was assassinated in the eastern town of La Union. His organisation, Asocbare-na, claimed that a number of its members have received several threats before. Social movements claim that most of the assassinations in Antioquia targeted people opposed to the controversial Hidroituango dam project. Meanwhile, in the town of Taraza, a social leader engaged in crop substitution programmes has been killed. In the first six months of 2018, more than 20 social leaders were killed in Antioquia.

Authorities ban drones ahead of presidential inauguration

Colombian authorities have issued a ban on drones during the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Ivan Duque. According to a statement, the preventive measure comes over enhanced security concerns. Drones are prohibited from being operated within a radius of around four kilometres from the Plaza de Bolivar and Casa Narino in central Bogota. The ban will be in effect between 14:00 and 18:00 on Tuesday. Ivan Duque will replace President Juan Manuel Santos in a ceremony held at 15:00 in the Plaza de Bolivar. Enhanced security measures and roadblocks are expected.

Clan del Golfo senior member detained in San Rafael, Antioquia

Colombian authorities have confirmed that a senior commander of the paramilitary group Clan del Golfo has been detained in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Carlos Tuberquia Moreno, alias 'Nicolas', was arrested during a joint operation in San Rafael. He is known for being a close official to Clan del Golfo's leader Dairo Antonio Usuga, alias 'Otoniel'. Clan del Golfo is Colombia's largest paramilitary group, which is engaged in drug-trafficking, extortion, kidnapping and armed attacks.

Security measures heightened ahead of presidential swearing-in ceremony

Security measures will be reinforced across central Bogota and major transport hubs ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Ivan Duque. Police officers and soldiers were deployed to Bogota's Plaza de Bolivar, where thousands are expected to attend the event on Tuesday afternoon. Several roads around the Casa de Narino and the Plaza de Bolivar will be blocked. Security measures will also be enhanced around hotels and Bogota's El Dorado International Airport.

Two reporters killed in separate incidents in south-western Colombia

A 29-year-old journalist has been killed after armed men opened fire on his motorcycle in Tulua, Cauca Valley. Jairo Calderon Plazas was travelling with his partner when he was targeted in the Municipal neighbourhood. Preliminary reports suggest that he hadn't been threatened recently. Calderon's death came hours after a radio reporter was killed in Suarez, Cauca. Valentin Tezada Rua was killed after he was reportedly lured to an undisclosed location. Journalists in Colombia are often targeted and face threats from criminal groups, especially in rural areas.

Thousands affected after dozens of Aviaca flights are cancelled

Thousands of passengers have been affected after more than 20 Avianca flights were cancelled on Thursday. According to the company, more than 2,000 passengers were affected due to operational motives. The company temporarily suspended the selling of domestic and international flights - tickets for international flights have already resumed on Friday morning. Operations are likely to continue to be disrupted throughout the next few days. Passengers are advised to directly contact the company for flight status updates.

Thousands of Venezuelans migrants granted visa to stay in Colombia

President Juan Manuel Santos has signed a presidential order which will grant a temporary residential visa to more than 440,000 Venezuelans. In a statement released on Thursday, President Santos said that the special visa will allow registered Venezuelans to remain in the country for up to two years. It will also grant them access to the Colombian health system. It is estimated that more than one million Venezuelans migrated to Colombia in the last 15 months.

President Santos meets FARC leadership in Bogota

Outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos and senior members of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) have met the presidential palace days before President-elect Ivan Duque is sworn into office. President Santos met with FARC's leader Rodrigo Londono, where they discussed further guidelines of the peace accord and the protection to former FARC militants. Ivan Duque's Democratic Centre (CD) was one of the main critics of the FARC peace deal and is expected to push for further changes to some aspects of the agreement.

Widespread flooding affects thousands in Guainia and Vichada

Thousands of families have been affected after inclement weather hit south-eastern Colombia. Reports revealed that around 9,500 families were affected due to widespread flooding in Guainia and Vichada departments. Weather alerts remain in place to some departments in north-western Colombia due to risks of landslides and flooding over the coming days.

Military seizes submarine loaded with drugs off Cauca

Colombia's Navy has announced that around 750kg of cocaine has been seized during a military operation off the southern Colombian coast. In a statement, officials said that a submarine was intercepted near the Isla Gorgona, located off the coast of Cauca department. This is the latest drug bust in Colombia, which is one of the world's largest producers of cocaine. According to reports, more than 58 tonnes of drugs were seized in 2018.

Government and ELN fail to reach ceasefire deal

Colombia's government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) have failed to reach an agreement to launch a temporary bilateral ceasefire amid the peace negotiations held in Havana, Cuba. However, President Juan Manuel Santos and ELN's chief negotiator, Pablo Beltran, acknowledged some advances in the talks. This was the sixth and final round of talks with the ELN before President Santos steps down from office on Tuesday. His successor, Ivan Duque, is highly expected to launch a more incisive approach to the negotiations, while at the same time promoting changes to the peace deal reached with the FARC.

Supreme Court suspends probe against former President Uribe

Colombia's Supreme Court has suspended investigations against former President Alvaro Uribe after his lawyers challenged the impartiality of the case's judges. Uribe resigned last week his seat in Senate after he was summoned to testify in a criminal inquiry. He is being accused of witness tampering, regarding a case where a rival senator falsely accused him of links to paramilitary groups. Uribe claims that three judges in charge of the case are biased and that all accusations are politically motivated. He said that he is not evading a trial, as it may be delayed for several weeks.

Heavy rainfall triggers nationwide weather alert

Colombia's Institute of Hydrology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) has issued a red weather as heavy rainfall is forecast to affect at least five departments across Colombia. Residents living near rivers in Meta, Guainia, Antioquia, Vichada and Santander are advised caution as downpour may cause them to overflow. Another alert was also issued to the Pacifico and Orinoquia regions due to risks associated with landslides.

Seven killed in armed attack in El Tarra, Norte de Santander

At least seven people have been killed and three others were severely injured when gunmen raided a store in El Tarra, Norte de Santander. Local media reported that the shooting broke out on Monday afternoon in the central neighbourhood of Villa Esperanza. President-elect Ivan Duque has condemned the attack. Preliminary reports from the ministry of defence, suggest that the incident may be linked to a dispute between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and Los Pelusos gang. The region is at the centre of violent territorial clashes involving the ELN and paramilitary groups.

Soldier killed in clashes with the ELN in El Tambo, Cauca

A soldier has been killed and two others were injured during armed clashes with the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Military sources said that soldiers were ambushed in Playa Rica, located in the rural area of El Tambo. It is believed that the militants were part of the ELN Jose Maria Becerra Front, which widely operates in the region. 

FARC dissidents killed during military operation in Tumaco, Narino

At least two dissident FARC members have been killed during a military operation in Narino, south-western Colombia. According to the Army, the operation took place in the Viento Libre neighbourhood in the rural area of Tumaco. The move came as part of a series of raids carried out under the operation dubbed 'Safe Tumaco', which seeks to tackle militant groups based in the region. Security measures have been significantly heightened in southern Colombia due to the presence of FARC dissidents along the Ecuadorian border.

Child killed as heavy rainfall hits San Gil, Santander

An eight-year-old child has died after heavy rainfall caused a wall to collapse in Santander, north-eastern Colombia. EFE reported that a dozen others were injured and several houses in the town of San Gil were destroyed. Dozens of vehicles were damaged when floods hit the streets. 

Senior ELN leader killed in San Pablo, Bolivar

A senior member of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has been killed during a military operation in Bolivar, northern Colombia. According to the ministry of defence, alias 'Samuelito' was killed in the rural area of San Pablo, located in the southern region of the department. He is believed to belong to the ELN for more than 30 years and to have recently returned from Venezuela. Earlier in the week, Colombia's military raised concerns of ELN leaders being based in Venezuela.

ELN seek to reach new ceasefire deal to allow humanitarian aid

The National Liberation Army (ELN) is reportedly seeking to reach a ceasefire deal with the Colombian government to allow humanitarian aid to some heavily targeted areas. In a statement, ELN's chief negotiator, Pablo Beltran, has said that the group also demands that the government address the rising number of assassinations of social leaders in Colombia. The ELN is the country's largest guerrilla group, which is currently engaged in turbulent peace talks with the government. Previous ceasefires proved to be effective but were not enough to reduce subsequent ELN operations.

FARC senator raises concerns over killing of former guerrillas

The Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) has raised concerns over the death of dozens of former FARC militants since the peace agreement was signed. FARC Senator Victoria Sandino said that 66 former FARC guerrillas were killed alongside 20 of their family members. Such concerns are shared with the UN Mission in Colombia, which is verifying the implementation of the peace deal.

Senator Alvaro Uribe quits senate after court summons

Former President Alvaro Uribe has resigned from his seat in the Senate after he was summoned to testify in a criminal inquiry. His resignation regards a case investigating a previous feud between Uribe and Senator Ivan Cepeda. Investigations date back to 2012, when Uribe claimed that Cepeda falsely accused him of having ties to the right-wing paramilitary groups. Uribe is an influential member of the Democratic Centre Party (CD) and was responsible for fierce counter-insurgency policies during his presidency. He is one of the closest allies of President-elect Ivan Duque.

Social leader killed in Jamundi, Cauca Valley

A 76-year-old social leader has been gunned down in Cauca Valley, western Colombia. Local authorities informed that Libardo Moreno was targeted on Tuesday afternoon when he stopped on a road to assist two stranded motorcyclists in Jamundi. Morano was shot multiple times before the assailants left the scene. In recent years, Colombia has faced a surge in the killing of local leaders - since 2016, it is estimated that more than 300 were killed nationwide. Moreno's death came days after the ministry of interior met with local officials to draft measures to protect social leaders.

Military seizes Clan del Golfo's gold cache in Cali

Colombia's military has reportedly seized more than 54kg in gold during an anti-drugs operation in Cali. According to the military, the gold bars were found inside an abandoned house on Sunday. It is believed that the gold - which is worth more than $2m - belong to the paramilitary Clan del Golfo. Since the FARC peace deal, the group has intensified its operations to secure lucrative drug-trafficking territory in Colombia.

Authorities issue warning for large waves along Pacific coast

Colombia's maritime authority has issued a warning for large waves along the country's Pacific coast. In a statement, Dimar said that waves are expected to reach up to three metres until Wednesday. Caution is highly advised, particularly when heading towards the open sea. Travellers are advised to check local authorities' recommendations when heading towards the coastal areas, especially across tourist destinations.

FARC members take part in first congressional session

Members of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) have taken part in the first congressional session since the 2016 peace deal. Under the agreement, FARC members were granted five seats in both houses of Congress. Eight of the 10 members took part in last Friday's session. Among those absent was alias Jesus Santrich, who is facing extradition proceedings to the US, and Ivan Marquez, who renounced in protest.

Roadside bomb kills three FARC dissidents in Arauca

Three suspected dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been killed when a roadside bomb exploded in Arauca, northern Colombia. According to the police, the incident happened in the bordering town of Arauquita. Reports suggest that the device prematurely went off while militants were heading towards the border with Venezuela. The area is known for the presence of FARC dissidents and militants of the National Liberation Army (ELN), which are currently engaged in violent territorial disputes along the Venezuelan border.

Oil pipeline resumes operations after series of bomb attacks

Colombia's military has announced that operations of the Cano Limon-Covenas oil pipeline have resumed nearly six months after a number of bomb attacks from the National Liberation Army (ELN). The 774-kilometre pipeline was targeted dozens of times throughout the year, while authorities also identified dozens of illegal taps. The ELN is currently engaged in peace talks with the Colombian government in Cuba. However, some of its militant fronts continue to launch attacks, mostly across northern Colombian departments.

Teachers to launch nationwide strike on 25 July

Teachers and education professionals have called for a nationwide strike to demand better working conditions and further funding to education in Colombia. The strike was called by the influential Colombian Teachers Federation (Fecode) that also underlined the increasing to threats and intimidation towards teachers. Marches are scheduled to take place on 25 July across major departmental capitals.

Social leader found dead in Suarez, Cauca

A social leader has been found dead days after being presumably kidnapped from his home in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Ibes Trujillo was reported missing last week when armed criminals raided his home in the northern town of Suarez. Trujillo was involved in a number of local social projects in the rural area of Suarez and Buenos Aires. Since the FARC peace deal, threats and attacks against social leaders have intensified, especially in coca-rich areas where the government presence is virtually nonexistent.

Authorities detain journalists' kidnapper in Tumaco, Narino

Colombian authorities have confirmed on Tuesday that the suspected kidnapper behind the abduction of the Ecuadorian media team has been detained during a military raid in Narino, south-western Colombia. According to the military, alias 'Cherry' was detained alongside 14 other FARC dissidents in the coastal town of Tumaco, located near the Ecuadorian border. 'Cherry' is believed to be linked to alias 'Guacho', who leads the FARC dissident front Oliver Sinisterra, which has been involved in a number of kidnaps and cross-border attacks.

FARC dissidents detained in military raid in Tame, Arauca

Nearly a dozen dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been detained in a military operation in Arauca, northern Colombia. According to the military, the operation took place on Saturday in Tame. The group is accused of extortion, murder and armed attacks across Arauca. The region is home to several paramilitary and militant groups, which often target security forces.

FARC's Ivan Marquez refuses to take office over peace deal row

A senior member of the reborn Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) has said on Monday that he is not swearing in as a senator in protest against the government approach to the peace deal. Ivan Marquez, one of the most senior members of the FARC, has previously rejected calls to assume his place as a senator in protest against the detention of Jesus Santrich, who is accused of drug-trafficking. Under the current deal, the FARC was granted five seats in both houses of Congress for two terms. Last week, senior FARC leaders faced trial before the Special Jurisdiction Court (JEP).

Two police officers killed in Puerto Valdivia, Antioquia

Two police officers have been killed after armed criminals targeted their patrol vehicle in Puerto Valdivia, Antioquia. Local media reported that the attack happened on Friday afternoon. Both victims were patrolling the town, which was recently ordered to evacuate due to concerns linked to failures of the Hidroituango dam. Last month, a soldier was also killed in Puerto Valdivia while undertaking humanitarian work to assist in the mandatory evacuations along the Cauca River.

Three investigators killed during ambush in Narino

Three investigators have been killed in an armed attack in Narino, south-western Colombia. According to the police, the attack happened on Wednesday afternoon on the road between Tumaco and Pasto. All victims were investigators linked to the attorney's general office. Reports showed that the victims were shot before their vehicle was set ablaze. The attack has been attributed to FARC dissidents part of the Oliver Sinisterra Front, which operates along the Ecuadorian border. 

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Narino

More than 430 people have been displaced due to armed clashes between FARC dissidents of the Oliver Sinisterra Front and the criminal group Gente del Orden. According to a report released on Tuesday by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), clashes erupted last week in the rural area of Roberto Payan, Narino Department. FARC dissidents often engage in clashes with paramilitary groups and criminal entities in southern Colombia. They have been engaged in a number of activities, including extortion, drug-trafficking and kidnapping.

President Santos signs law to promote surrender of subversive groups

President Juan Manuel Santos has signed into law a bill which seeks to promote the demobilisation of guerrilla, dissident and paramilitary groups in exchange for some benefits. With the new approach, the government main focus is the demobilisation of the Clan del Golfo, Colombia's largest paramilitary group. The group has significantly increased its presence after the FARC peace deal and it is often engaged in clashes with the ELN to secure key drug-trafficking routes and territory.

Former FARC leaders to appear in court over kidnapping cases

Former leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are set to appear before special peace tribunals regarding kidnapping cases committed by the group between 1992 and 2001. Thirty-two former senior FARC members - including FARC leader Rodrigo Londono - will be put on trial before the Special Jurisdiction Court (JEP) which was created as part of the FARC peace deal.

Soldier killed during ELN clashes in Choco

A soldier has been killed during clashes between the military and the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Choco, north-western Colombia. Cesar Samboni Bravo was killed when his platoon was targeted in the rural area of San Jose de Palmar. The incident happened hours before a police station was targeted in Andagoya. The ELN and other paramilitary groups widely operate in Choco.

Roadside bomb injuries eight soldiers in Buenaventura, Cauca Valley

Eight soldiers have been injured after a roadside bomb hit a military convoy in the Cauca Valley, south-western Colombia. According to the Colombian Navy, the attack happened in the area of Bajo Calima in Buenaventura. It is believed that the device was planted by members of the Ernesto Che Guevara Front of the National Liberation Army (ELN). Buenaventura is an isolated port city where criminal and paramilitary groups operate. The attack came days after the ELN and the government resumed peace talks in Havana, Cuba.

Community leader killed in Tumaco, Narino

A community leader in the south-western department of Narino has been killed in a fresh armed attack targeting social leaders in Colombia. Margarita Estupinan was killed on Tuesday evening near her house in Tumaco, a coastal town where paramilitary and militant groups operate. The incident happened hours after a political campaigner for presidential candidate Gustavo Petro was assassinated in Caceres, Antioquia.

Social leaders killed in separate incidents in Choco and Atlantico

Two social leaders have been killed in separate attacks across northern Colombia. In Choco department, Felicinda Santamaria, a local community leader, was killed when gunmen opened fire on her in the rural area of Quibdo. The incident came hours before another community leader was killed in Atlantico. Luis Barrios Machado was watching a World Cup match when gunmen stormed his residence in Palmar de Varela. Recent reports revealed that more than 40 social leaders were killed across Colombia since the start of the year.

Bodies of kidnapped couple reportedly found in Tumaco, Narino

Colombian authorities have reported that the bodies of a kidnapped Ecuadorian couple have been recovered in the rural area of Tumaco, Narino. Investigations are still ongoing to assess if the bodies belong to Katty Velasco and Oscar Villacis, who were kidnapped by dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) back in April along the Ecuadorian border. The bodies were recovered during a joint operation in south-western Colombia. The findings come days after the bodies of a kidnapped media team were also recovered in the same region.

Seven people found dead in Argelia, Cauca

At least seven people have been found dead in a remote rural area in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Police said that the victims were found with gunshot wounds in the rural area of Argelia. The area is renowned for criminal and paramilitary groups dedicated to drug-trafficking.

Police vehicle targeted with explosives in Antioquia

A police vehicle transporting seven members of the Clan del Golfo group was targeted with explosives in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Local media reported that the vehicle was attacked with a grenade along the road between Turbo and Apartado. No casualties were reported. Authorities believe that the attack was carried out in retaliation for the recent military crackdown against the group's operations in the region.

Clan del Golfo militants detained in operation across northern Colombia

More than a dozen members of the Clan de Golfo group have been detained during a joint military operation across northern Colombia. According to military sources, the operations took place in the departments of Antioquia, Bolivar, Magdalena and Sucre. It is believed that the militants were dedicated due to extortion activities across Sucre and Bolivar. Further reports also revealed that another operation against the group was launched in Antioquia and Choco, where the equivalent to $1.3m was seized. Clan del Golfo is Colombia's largest paramilitary group.

Government talks with the ELN resume in Havana, Cuba

The National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Colombian government have resumed the peace talks on Monday. The dialogue has entered its sixth round in Havana, Cuba after no agreement was reached in the previous meetings. The ELN accused the government of failing to uphold its side of the negotiations regarding a potential ceasefire, while the government called on the ELN to cease its criminal operations. The ELN talks could change track under the administration of president-elect Ivan Duque, which will likely engage in a hard-line approach against the group.

Senate approves changes to FARC special peace tribunal

Colombia's Senate has approved significant changes to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) agreed under the peace agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Most JEP articles that were originally agreed upon were approved but two major changes were introduced. They regard the creation of a separate special tribunal to try members of the military involved in the conflict and prohibits JEP to have jurisdiction over independent investigations. The Democratic Centre (CD), the party of president-elect Ivan Duque, praised the move, while President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londono claimed that such changes are unconstitutional.

Dozens linked to FARC dissidents detained in cross-border operation

More than 80 suspected militants linked to a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been detained during a joint cross-border operation. Ecuador's Interior Minister Mauro Toscanini has confirmed that 52 people were detained in Ecuador and 30 others were arrested in Colombia. Authorities believe that the suspects are linked to the dissident FARC front known as Oliver Sinisterra, which widely operate along the border and is led by alias 'Guacho'. The announcement comes after the bodies of three kidnapped media professionals arrived in Ecuador.

Low-flying drones to be used to fumigate illicit crops

President Juan Manuel Santos has announced that the government will proceed with the use of drones to eradicate illicit coca crops nationwide. The move comes after a US government report revealed that coca cultivation in Colombia has significantly increased. Drones will fly at low altitude and release glyphosate, a herbicide used in previous aerial fumigation efforts.

Congress approves bill to promote demobilisation of militant groups

Colombia's congress has approved a bill which seeks to promote the demobilisation of guerrilla, dissident and paramilitary groups in exchange of some benefits. The main guidelines refer to a steep reduction in prison sentences to militants that choose to surrender. The bill has been supported by major parties, including the opposition Democratic Centre (CD), which recently elected the country's new president, Ivan Duque. The bill still has to be signed into law by outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos.

Bodies of kidnapped media team reportedly found in Tumaco, Narino

President Juan Manuel Santos has announced that the bodies of the Ecuadorian press team kidnapped back in March may have been found. President Santos said on Twitter that investigations are still ongoing to assess if the bodies belong to three members of the media team of the Ecuadorian-based media outlet El Comercio. The bodies were reportedly found in the rural area of Tumaco, south-western Colombia. The incident has been attributed to a dissident front of the FARC, the Oliver Sinisterra Front, led by alias 'Guacho', which widely operate along the border.

Ivan Duque wins election victory

On Sunday, 41-year-old Ivan Duque, who was unknown on the political scene a year ago, won the presidency of Colombia. Mr Duque won 54 percent of the vote, and has promised to overhaul the agreement with FARC rebels which guaranteed them seats in Congress and permitted them to contest elections.  He is also keen to cut taxes and boost investment, raising money by shrinking the state.    

Airstrike kills 16 FARC in Fortul

As many as 16 FARC dissidents have been killed in an airstrike in the northeastern rural area of Fortul, Arauca. According to local reports, the airstrike was carried out by the Colombian armed forces with aerial assistance. The alleged leader of the rogue guerrilla unit, alias 'El Burro' is thought to be among those killed in the operation.

Jungle cocaine laboratory destroyed in Narino

On 10 June, authorities reported the destruction of a clandestine cocaine laboratory in Barbacoas, Narino.  The facility was allegedly operated by a group of FARC dissidents in the area, and was capable of producing five tonnes of cocaine a month.  

Strong winds affect hundreds across Sucre

Hundreds of people have been affected after strong winds ravaged through Sucre, northern Colombia. The area most affected was the town of San Marcos. Local officials revealed that such phenomenon has been triggered due to the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which kicked off last week and will last until September. Colombia's National Disaster Management Unit (UNGRD), issued a warning to the northern departments of La Guajira, Bolivar, Atlantico, Magdalena, Sucre, Cordoba, Choco and Antioquia, which may face adverse weather during this period. Warnings were also issued to the archipelagos of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina. 

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Norte de Santander

More than 500 people have been displaced due to intense clashes between the military and members of the People's Liberation Army (EPL) in the restive Catatumbo region, Norte de Santander. Tensions are particularly high in the rural areas of Hacari. According to reports from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), two civilians have been injured since clashes first broke out over the weekend. The EPL and the National Liberation Army (ELN) are currently engaged in violent territorial disputes in the region despite plans to hold peace talks.

FARC dissidents killed during military operation in Narino

At least six dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been killed during a joint military operation in Narino, south-western Colombia. Military sources told AFP that the raid happened around La Guayacana area in Tumaco. The operation targeted the leader of the FARC dissident front Oliver Sinisterra, which widely operates along the Ecuadorian border. A number of operations have been recently launched in the region to capture alias 'Guacho', who is responsible for a number of kidnaps and cross-border bomb attacks.

Soldier killed during FARC dissident attack in Briceno, Antioquia

A soldier has been killed during an armed ambush in Antioquia, northern Colombia. Edinson Ariza Jaramillo was killed in Briceno on Saturday. According to the Army, his platoon was targeted around the rural area of Montebello. Meanwhile, the military also informed that a cache of explosives was recovered and destroyed in the town of Anori - reports suggest that they belong to the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Presumed militants kill soldier in Puerto Valdivia, Antioquia

A soldier has been killed during violent clashes with presumed militants in Antioquia, northern Colombia. According to military sources, the soldier was engaged in humanitarian works across Puerto Valdivia when he and his team were attacked in the rural area of Raudal. The area has been particularly affected by the crisis involving the Hidroituango dam, which is at risk of failure. 

Political parties announce their endorsement ahead of presidential runoff

Colombia's major political parties have announced their endorsement on the presidential race between conservative Ivan Duque and left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro who are set to dispute a runoff vote in mid-June. Members of the ruling Partido de la U gave permission to its supporters to freely choose between both candidates. On the other side, the Liberal Party chose to support Duque. The main dispute involves voters from the coalition led by Sergio Fajardo, who came in a close third place with more than 23 percent of the votes - one of the coalition partners, Polo Democratico, chose to endorse Petro.

Four towns in Antioquia to be evacuated over potential dam failure

Four towns located along the Cauca river were ordered to evacuate due to potential risks of flooding from the Ituango hydroelectric dam in Antioquia, northern Colombia. According to the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGRD), preventive evacuation measures will be launched in the towns of Puerto Valdivia, Puerto Antioquia, Caceres and Taraza. The move came after authorities identified fresh earth movement and landslides in the region. More than 120,000 people across the region are already under evacuation orders due to the dam's risk of failure.

FARC dissidents killed during military raid in Caqueta

Colombia's ministry of defence has confirmed that nearly a dozen dissident members of the FARC were killed during a military operation in Caqueta, southern Colombia. According to a statement, the operation took place in the rural area of La Montanita, where a dissident front led by alias 'Cadete' operates. It is estimated that more than 1,000 militants are still active across a number of dissident fronts in southern Colombia.

Ivan Duque to face Gustavo Petro in presidential run off vote

Millions of Colombians headed to the polls on Sunday to cast their ballots in the country's presidential elections. Official results revealed that the centre-right candidate for the Democratic Centre (CD), Ivan Duque, garnered around 39.1 percent of the votes, against his main rival, former Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro, who got around 25.1 percent. In a close third place came former Medellin Mayor Sergio Fajardo, who got 23.7 percent of the votes. The elections turn out was 53.4 percent, one of the highest in recent history. Duque and Petro are set to face each other in the presidential run-off vote scheduled for 17 June.

Colombians to cast their ballots ahead of presidential vote

Colombians are set to head to the polls on Sunday ahead of the country's presidential elections. Preliminary polls suggest that the centre-right candidate for the opposition Democratic Centre, Ivan Duque, holds a large advantage against his main rival, former Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro. Duque is backed by former-President Alvaro Uribe, a fierce opponent to the FARC peace deal. Petro, on the other hand, has launched accusations of potential fraud to the electoral system, which prompted international observers to reinforce their mission. This is the first presidential vote since the FARC peace deal was brokered. FARC's presidential aspirations were short-lived after its leader, Rodrigo Timochenko, quit his bid due to ill health.

Argentinian guide tour kidnapped and killed in Cauca

A 47-year-old Argentinian guide tour has been found dead days after being kidnapped in Cauca, western Colombia. Reports revealed that Monica Berenice Blanco was abducted alongside a group of Israeli tourists during a so-called 'Cannabis Tour', which included a visit to marijuana plantations on the outskirts of Cali. Blanco was found dead in the rural area of Corinto, while all tourists were released three days after their abduction. Local media revealed that the assailants demanded a $100k ransom in exchange for her release. Police officers said that dissident FARC militants and Clan del Golfo members widely operate in the area.

Hundreds displaced after armed group raid village in Choco

Hundreds of people have been displaced after armed criminals raided an indigenous village in Choco, north-western Colombia. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), nearly 700 people were forced to leave their homes in the Embera community in Bajo Baudo. Violence in the area first erupted nearly 10 days ago. OCHA informed that local communities are concerned over the presence of unexploded ordnance in the area.

Indigenous tribe displaced after armed attack in Cucuta

More than 100 indigenous people have been displaced after a reported armed attack to a camp in Cucuta, Norte de Santander. Amnesty International has confirmed that the attack happened last Friday in the Nuevo Escobal neighbourhood - the shelter was housing more than 300 people. No immediate reports of casualties were released. Most of the victims affected were members of the indigenous Yukpa tribe, which recently fled from Venezuela.

Antioquia's Ituango Dam at high risk of failure

A maximum alert has been issued to communities located along the Cauca river in Antioquia due to the high risk of critical failure of the Ituango Dam in northern Colombia. More than 120,000 people are under evacuation orders as more than 8,000 residents across Taraza, Caceres and Caucasia were already evacuated. UN and International Civil Protection officials are being deployed to the region to assess the situation. Rainfall in set to continue for the next few in the area, which is already under warning for the risk of landslides and widespread flooding.

Two killed in presumed arson attack in Santander de Quilichao, Cauca

At least two people have been injured when a massive fire destroyed more than a dozen buildings in Santander de Quilichao, Cauca. The incident happened in the early hours of Monday morning in the central area of the city. El Pais reported that preliminary investigations suggest that the fire was caused due to an arson attack against a local businessman who was reportedly facing extortion. 

Former anti-corruption chief extradited to the US

Colombia's former anti-corruption chief, Luis Gustavo Moreno, was extradited to the US on Thursday. Moreno will be tried for money laundering and fraud. He was detained last year after he attempted to bribe a former governor to sideline court procedures against him - the negotiations took place in Miami, Florida, and were recorded by the Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA). Moreno has brokered a plea bargain deal with prosecutors to denounce more than 20 people, who were reportedly involved in a massive bribery scheme linked to high-level magistrates within Colombia's Supreme Court.

Special peace tribunal suspends FARC leader extradition to the US

Colombia's special peace tribunal, JEP, has ruled the suspension of the extradition request of former FARC leader Jesus Santrich to the US. In a statement, JEP said that the move comes in order to allow prosecutors to gather enough evidence to lawfully proceed with Santrich's extradition - a deadline of 10 days has been settled. Santrich was detained earlier in April on drug-trafficking charges from a US-based court. His imprisonment led to the deterioration of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) relations with the government. 

Thousands to evacuate over flooding at western Colombian dam

More than a dozen villages located along western Colombia's Cauca river have been forced to evacuate due to the imminent risk of flooding. It is believed that more than 100,000 people are being advised to leave their homes as the flow of water continues to increase downstream. Antioquia Governor Luis Perez Gutierrez declared a state of emergency on Monday, while President Juan Manuel Santos called for an emergency cabinet meeting. Floods are being caused by the construction of the controversial Hidroituango dam project, which has already affected more than 600 people.

Military operation kills eight FARC dissidents in Putumayo

At least eight FARC dissidents were killed and three others were injured during a military operation in Putumayo, southern Colombia. According to the military and the Colombian ministry of defence, the operation targeted members of the Seventh Front of the group, which are allegedly behind a number of kidnaps and attacks against security forces. The operation took place in the rural area of Puerto Asis. Since the FARC demobilisation, dissident fronts spread across the country, especially through the southern departments of Putumayo and Narino.

Hundreds evacuated due to floods in Puerto Valdivia, Antioquia

Hundreds of people were evacuated due to widespread flooding in Puerto Valdivia, Antioquia. Authorities revealed on Sunday that heavy rainfall coupled with construction works of the Hidroituango dam project widely affected residents in the town and several low-ground villages along the Cauca river. An alert was issued to the town of Ituango, Briceno, Caceres, Taraza, Caucasia and Nechi over the risk of flooding. 

ELN to suspend operations during general election

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has announced plans to halt their military operations during the upcoming elections scheduled later in the month. In a statement released on Twitter, the group said that its activities will be suspended between 25 and 29 May. The move comes after the government and the ELN resumed their turbulent negotiations in Havana, Cuba. Elections are scheduled to take place on 27 May.

Landslides trigger disruption along Bogota-Villavicencio highway

The main road between Bogota and Villavicencio was blocked after heavy rainfall triggered landslides over the weekend. Although the road was reopened on Sunday evening, several areas along the so-called Autopista al Llano (Highway 40) are still facing disruption due to traffic restrictions. Drivers are advised to take caution while driving in the area over the increasing risks of rockfall. 

Missing British traveller found dead at waterfall in Putumayo

A 24-year-old British traveller has been found dead at the bottom of a waterfall in Putumayo department, southern Colombia. Joe Tilley was reported missing last week. Reports revealed that his body was recovered at the Fin del Mundo waterfall, located near the town of Mocoa. It is believed that Tilley fell to his death. Reports suggest that he was travelling and volunteering across South America.

Armed assailants kidnap social leader in Cauca

An Afro-Colombian social leader has been kidnapped after heavily armed assailants raided his boat in western Colombia. The victim has been identified as Iber Angulo Zamora, who was attacked while travelling along the Naya river - on the border between Cauca and Cauca Valley departments - from Lopez de Micay towards Buenaventura. He was part of a humanitarian mission backed by a commission within the local ombudsman office, which provided guards to secure the journey. Colombia's Navy was later deployed to Santa Maria to launch a rescue operation.

Thousands without power after FARC dissident attack in Narino

More than 200,000 people have been affected after suspected FARC dissidents targeted two electricity transformers Narino, south-western Colombia. Reports revealed that the attack happened along the road between the towns of Pasto and Tumaco, close to the Ecuadorian border. Authorities believe that alias 'Guacho', who leads the Oliver Sinisterra front, is behind the attack. Security tensions remain high along the Ecuadorian border, where FARC dissidents have recently launched a number of attacks against infrastructure and security forces.

Community leader killed in Puerto Valdivia, Antioquia

A community leader in the northern department of Antioquia has been gunned down in Puerto Valdivia. Luis Alberto Torres Montoya was killed while working in the rural sector of El Pescadero. Torres was part of the Rios Vivos Antioquia Movement, which counters the construction of the Hidroituango hydroelectric project. He was killed nearly a week after another Rios Vivos environmental leader was murdered in the same town. According to Rios Vivos, more than 500 people were displaced due to the change in course of the Cauca River.

Peace talks with the ELN to be resumed in Cuba

Cuba's foreign ministry has stated that talks between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) are set to be resumed on Thursday. Peace negotiations with Colombia's largest guerrilla group have faded after the ELN resumed their armed insurgency. Talks were being previously held in Ecuador, which chose to withdraw its role as a mediator after a number of incidents broke out along the bordering area.

Flight disruptions reported across major regional airports

Colombia's Civil Aviation authority has confirmed that the airports of Carepa, Popayan, Cartago, Armenia and Guaymaral are currently closed. Wednesday's operations at the airports of Leticia, Ibague, Valledupar and Bucaramanga are also facing disruptions. Some delays are also being reported at Bogota's El Dorado International Airport (BOG). Passengers are advised to check for flight status updates with their respective airlines.

Presidential candidates' security reinforced over threats

Colombia's police have stated that security measures to protect presidential candidates will be reinforced to avoid potential attacks during the campaign period. The measure is set to be implemented due to a number of threats that the candidates have reportedly received in recent weeks. Last week, the police warned conservative presidential candidate Ivan Duque of a potential attack against his campaign headquarters. The security detail on former President Alvaro Uribe will also be reinforced.

Weather alert issued due to flood risks in western Colombia

Colombia's Institute of Hydrology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) has issued a weather alert due to the potential risk of floods in western and northern Colombia. The alert includes areas located around major rivers across the departments of Guaviare, Arauca, Norte de Santander, Caldas, Cundinamarca, Santander, Antioquia, Cordoba, Choco, Valle del Cauca and Cauca. A lower alert has also been issued to most departments in western and southern Colombia.

Flight disruptions reported at Medellin's Olaya Herrera Airport

Flight disruptions are currently being reported at Medellin's Olaya Herrera Airport (EOH). Flights are facing severe delays and cancellations as operations are being gradually resumed after the airport was closed on Monday and Tuesday morning due to adverse weather conditions. Passengers have been advised to check for flight status updates before heading to the airport. EOH mainly serves regional and domestic flights.

Cuba to host ELN talks after Ecuador drops its mediation role

Cuba is set to be the new host of the turbulent peace talks between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN). The country - Cuba already hosted the FARC talks - is being chosen after Ecuador suspended its role as a mediator due to the rise of the ELN aggression. Since the start of the year, talks with the ELN have faded after the group resumed its armed campaign across Colombia.

Conservative candidate security reinforced after potential plot

Colombian police reportedly warned conservative presidential candidate Ivan Duque of a potential attack against his campaign headquarters. Security measures have been reinforced after reports of a plot to send him a parcel bomb emerged. Duque is leading the polls ahead of the presidential vote later in the month. He is the candidate of the Democratic Centre (CD), which seeks to make changes to the FARC peace deal.

Soldiers killed in military attack in Guaviare

Two soldiers have been killed and another was injured during a militant attack in the rural area San Jose de Guaviare, central Colombia. According to military sources, the soldiers were patrolling the Puerto Cachicamo sector when they were targeted with explosives. The attack was attributed to FARC dissidents part of the Seventh Front, which widely operates in the region. 

Military recovers cache of explosives in Ricaurte, Narino

A cache of explosives presumably belonging to the National Liberation Army (ELN) has been recovered in Narino, south-western Colombia. Military reports revealed that more than 130 home-made explosive devices were found in the rural area of Ricaurte. Security measures in the region have been heightened to protect key electrical and oil infrastructures. Last month, FARC dissidents targeted an oil pipeline in the area.

Authorities investigate FARC leader for drug-trafficking links

US and Colombian authorities are reportedly investigating FARC Senator Ivan Marquez for drug-trafficking allegations. According to the WSJ, the move comes after investigators intercepted a drug-deal between him and a Mexican-based trafficker. Marquez's probe comes after former FARC leader alias Jesus Santrich was detained in early-April. Marquez temporarily changes his residence to the department of Cordoba after Santrich's arrest. Both probes may widely influence the outcome of the current implementation of the peace deal between the FARC and the government.

ELN kills two soldiers in Arauquita, Arauca

Two soldiers have been killed during clashes with National Liberation Army (ELN) militants in Arauca, north-eastern Colombia. According to the Colombian Army, the incident happened when their vehicle was ambushed in the area known as Puente Quinai in Arauquita, a town located near the Venezuelan border. Two civilians were also collaterally injured during the attack, which came as the Ecuadorian government called off the peace talks in the country until the ELN ceases its armed aggression in northern Colombia.

Jailed FARC leader taken to hospital over hunger strike

Jailed former FARC leader Jesus Santrich has been taken to a hospital after he engaged in a hunger strike. Santrich was detained earlier in the month on drug-trafficking charges from a US-based court. His imprisonment led to the deterioration of the FARC relations with the government. Such forced FARC Senator Ivan Marquez to temporarily move from Bogota to Caqueta in protest.

Thousands of malaria cases reported in Colombia

Colombia's National Health Institute (INS) revealed that more than 14,500 cases of malaria have already been reported in the country since the start of the year. The INS confirmed that most cases occurred in Choco department, while cases also continue to be reported in the Narino, Cordoba, Antioquia, Guainia, Amazonas, Bolivar and Vichada departments. Although the number of cases is considerably high, the current rate suffered an 11 percent drop compared with the same period last year.

Several killed in separate incidents across western Medellin

At least six people have been killed in separate incidents across western Medellin, Antioquia. All incidents were reported on Wednesday and mostly involved targeted murders in Laureles, San Javier, La America, La Candelaria and Robledo neighbourhoods. Last December, authorities reported a surge in violent territorial disputes in the area after a drug-lord of the Oficina del Envigado gang was detained.

ELN seeks ceasefire ahead of peace negotiations

The chief negotiator of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has announced that the group is seeking to launch a ceasefire ahead of the resumption of the peace negotiations later in the month. Pablo Beltran said that the group and the Colombian government are currently negotiating a bilateral ceasefire from 18 May in order to allow humanitarian aid to the most affected areas. The ELN and the Colombian government are set to resume their talks on 27 May.

Scores injured in paint factory blast in Medellin

At least 25 people have been injured after a fire broke out at a paint factory in Medellin, north-western Colombia. Most of the injured were firefighters, who were battling the flames when a powerful blast occurred. The incident happened on Tuesday afternoon in the city's Colon neighbourhood, which was cordoned off as emergency services were deployed to the area.

EPL kidnap ELN militants in Catatumbo

The People's Liberation Army (EPL) have reportedly kidnapped presumed members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) stationed in the restive Catatumbo region, northern Colombia. Chained ELN militants feature in a video where they call for a prisoner exchange and the end of the conflict. The video emerged after the EPL announced plans to hold talks with the ELN to cease the armed aggression in the region.

EPL to hold talks with the ELN over Catatumbo disputes

Members of the People's Liberation Army (EPL) have announced plans to hold talks with its main rival, the National Liberation Army (ELN). Both militant groups are currently engaged in violent disputes to secure territory vacated by the FARC in Catatumbo, Norte de Santander. The EPL further announced that the current 'armed strike' launched last week will be suspended on Thursday to allow aid workers to assist local communities.

UN raises concerns over social leaders detention in Cali

Colombia's UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has raised concerns after more than 30 social leaders were detained in Cali, western Colombia. Reports revealed that several social leaders mainly from Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities in Valle del Cauca and Narino were arrested over a range of accusations, including drug-trafficking. Social groups called the government for their release due to their active role in the conturbed peace process.

Clan del Golfo financial chief detained in Turbo, Antioquia

Colombia's Army has detained the financial chief of the notorious Clan del Golfo group. Angel Eusebio Usuga, alias 'Chengo', was arrested on Sunday during a military operation in Turbo, Antioquia. Chengo is the brother of Colombia's most wanted man, alias 'Otoniel', who leads the paramilitary group. This is the latest blow to the Clan del Golfo, which is currently attempting to reach a peace agreement with the government.

Jailed former paramilitary leader extradited to the US

One of the most infamous paramilitary leaders in Colombia is set to be extradited to the US. Daniel Rendon, alias 'Don Mario', was detained in 2009 amid negotiations with the Colombian government. Don Mario is one of the founders of the Clan del Golfo, which still operates in the country. President Juan Manuel Santos agreed his extradition nearly four years ago after a New York-based accused him of drug-trafficking.

Militants target oil pipeline in Tumaco, Narino

A fresh attack against an oil pipeline has been reported in the restive department of Narino, south-western Colombia. Ecopetrol has stated that the Transandino pipeline in Tumaco was targeted with explosives on Saturday evening. No major damage was reported. Over the last few months, tensions have remained high along the Ecuadorian border, which is at the centre of disputes between FARC dissidents and other militant groups. Last week, the Transandino pipeline was attacked in Ricaurte.

Soldier killed in ELN attack in Fortul, Arauca

A soldier has been killed after an armed attack from militants part of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Arauca, northern Colombia. According to the Army, the incident happened in the rural area of Fortul, where the military was disposing of seized explosives. The ELN continues widely active across northern Colombia. Talks have faded after the group resumed its attacks in January. Most recently, the Ecuadorian government announced the suspension of talks in Quito until the group ceases its military campaign in northern Colombia.

Three killed in Clan del Golfo clashes in Cordoba

At least three members of the paramilitary Clan del Golfo have been killed in military clashes in Cordoba, northern Colombia. Security sources revealed that the clashes broke out on Thursday in the rural areas of San Jose Ure and Taraza. Hundreds of people have been evacuated in recent months due to increased security risks related to the militant presence in the area.

Five killed in mine landslide near Anori, Antioquia

At least five people have been killed after a landslide struck a mine in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Local media reported that the incident happened on Thursday in the rural area of Anori. Preliminary reports that the landslide was caused by an accident with a bulldozer. Mining accidents in Colombia are common and usually occur because of a lack of health and safety regulations.

Thousands without power after militant attack in Narino

Hundreds of thousands of people suffered power outages on Wednesday after National Liberation Army (ELN) militants targeted a power grid in Narino, south-western Colombia. El Espectator reported that more than 270,000 people across Ricaurte, Barbacoas, Magui, Roberto Payan and Tumaco were affected. Army General Alberto Jose Mejia confirmed ELN involvement. Power is set to be gradually restored as engineers headed to the scene on Friday morning. This is the third attack against power facilities in Narino, where paramilitary and militant groups widely operate.

Civilians injured amid militant clashes in Norte de Santander

At least two civilians have been injured amid ongoing clashes between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the People's Liberation Army (EPL) in Norte de Santander. The most recent incident happened in the town of San Calixto, which is located in the restive Catatumbo region. For several days the region has been the main battleground between both groups to control lucrative drug-trafficking territory.

Ecuador suspends ELN talks mediation

Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno has announced on Wednesday plans to suspend the country's mediation in the peace talks between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN). In a statement, President Moreno said that such will last until the ELN cease its attacks in northern Colombia. The move comes after Ecuadorian security was recently shaken by recent attacks and kidnappings led by FARC dissidents stationed along the Colombian border.

Authorities arrest senior FARC dissident in Narino

Colombian authorities have announced that a senior dissident member has been detained in a police operation in Narino, south-western Colombia. In a press conference, General Jorge Nieto said that Vicente Canticus Pascial, alias 'Bryan', was arrested. Bryan is believed to be linked to alias 'Guacho' the head of the FARC dissident front Oliver Sinisterra, which is responsible for recent kidnappings and attacks along the Ecuadorian border.

Heavy rainfall triggers disruption nationwide

Heavy rainfall has triggered widespread disruption nationwide. Media reports revealed that in the last few days, two people were killed, while some areas in Cali suffered power outages. Roadblocks, flooding and landslides are also being reported in some regions. Authorities revealed that at least a dozen people have already been killed across the country since the start of the rainy season back in December. Further heavy rainfall is expected to affect most parts of the country over the next few days. The Colombian rainy season is set to last until June.

Violent crime surge reported in Santa Marta, Magdalena

The Canadian government travel advisory has issued a warning over the increasing levels of violent crime reported in Santa Marta, Magdalena department. Since the start of the year, purse snatching and armed robberies have been reported in the northern coastal city. Travellers have been advised to avoid walking alone after dark, avoid deserted areas and remain vigilant at all times.

Committee reopens graft investigation on President Santos

A parliamentary committee is set to reopen a corruption investigation linked to President Juan Manuel Santos, who is being investigated for receiving more than $450k from the scandal-riddled construction company Odebrecht to finance both of his presidential campaigns. Among the witnesses is former Senator Otto Bula, who was detained after receiving millions in bribes from the Brazilian-based company. The move seeks to assess the opening of a formal investigation into the president or the filing of the case.

Soldier killed during ELN stand off in Antioquia

A 27-year-old soldier has been killed during a shooting targeting members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. According to the military, Felipe Navarra Guevara was killed on Tuesday afternoon during a reconnaissance operation in a rural area in Remedios. Some areas of Antioquia are haunted by the presence of militant and paramilitary groups.

EPL launches armed strike in Catatumbo

Streets are deserted and public transportation was suspended as the People's Liberation Army (EPL) launched an armed strike in the restive Catatumbo region. Such comes after the EPL presumedly called for a so-called armed strike around rural areas near the Venezuelan border. The claims were dismissed by the Colombian government, which refused to acknowledge the strike. However, social media accounts revealed that the streets around Hacari, San Calixto, Teorama, El Tarra, Tibu and Convencion are completely empty. The EPL is currently engaged in a violent dispute to secure territory from the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Rainy season to last until mid-June

Colombia's Institute of Hydrology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) has announced that the country's current rainy season is forecast to last until mid-June. Departments across the Andean and Pacific regions are expected to be the most affected. According to the National Unit for Risk Management, a dozen people were killed - mainly due to landslides and flooding - and more than 1,000 families have been affected by the current rainy season so far.

Social leader kidnapped in Teorama, Norte de Santander

Presumed members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) have kidnapped a local social leader in Teorama, Norte de Santander. Jaider Santiago Manzano was taken from his home in La Muralla. Teorama is located in the restive Catatumbo area, where militant and paramilitary groups widely operate along the Venezuelan border. The incident comes just days after four people were kidnapped and later released in the region.

FARC dissidents target oil pipeline in Ricaurte, Narino

Suspected members of a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have launched an attack against an oil pipeline in Narino department, south-western Colombia. According to Ecopetrol, the incident happened on Friday against the Transandino pipeline in Ricaurte. Tensions remain high in the region as dissident FARC militants continue to launch attacks along the Ecuadorian border. 

Clan del Golfo kills eight police officers in Uraba, Antioquia

Eight police officers have been killed after a roadside bomb went off in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Reports revealed that a police patrol unit was escorting members of a land restitution team in the restive town of San Pedro de Uraba. The incident happened on Wednesday in the El Tomate area. The attack has been attributed to the Clan del Golfo group, which widely operates in northern Colombia. Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas confirmed that three assailants were killed in the stand-off.

Several heads of cattle slaughtered over FMD suspicion

More than a dozen heards of cattle have been slaughtered over their suspected infection from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Colombia's Agriculture Minister Juan Guillermo Zuluaga told reporters that all of them were imported from Venezuela. Concerns were drawn last year after the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) removed Colombia's certificate which labelled the country as an FMD-free nation - the decision has since been reverted. FMD is not harmful to humans but is highly contagious to livestock.

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Norte de Santander

More than 200 people have been forced to be evacuated due to ongoing militant clashes in San Calixto, Norte de Santander. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated on Tuesday that armed battles between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the People's Liberation Army (EPL) continue to threaten local communities. Furthermore, a number of roadside bombs across rural areas are being reported alongside explosives planted near schools.

Chief of peace deal fund sacked over alleged corruption links

President Juan Manuel Santos has sacked the director of the Colombia Peace Fund (FCP) over her alleged links to corruption and mismanagement. Gloria Ospina was the financial chief of the peace process. Prosecutors opened on Friday investigations after she allegedly granted over-priced contracts to subversive contractors. Several countries already raised concerns over the potential mismanagement within the FCP, which is a key tool to assure the guidelines stated under the FARC peace deal.

Oil spill emergency reported in Lisama, Santander

Colombian authorities have requested assistance from the UN Environment and the activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (EUCPM) after a massive oil spill hit the northern province of Santander. The oil spill emergency started back in early-March at an Ecopetrol's field in Lisama. People were forced to evacuate areas along the La Lizama and Sogamoso rivers - the latter a tributary to the Magdalena River, Colombia's largest water source.

Former FARC commander to be extradited after US court ruling

A former FARC senior commander has been detained and may face extradition after a New York-based court accused him of involvement in a conspiracy to export cocaine into the US. President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed that Seusis Hernandez, alias "Jesus Santrich", engaged in illegal activities after the peace accord with the group was brokered. He said that substantial evidence shows that Santrich smuggled up to 10 tonnes of cocaine to the US. The FARC political party condemned the move and said that the evidence was fabricated.

Flooding affects thousands in Narino

More than 4,500 people have been affected after intense rainfall battered the south-western areas in Narino department last week. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the number is expected to increase as the emergency services assess the situation around the rural areas of Magui Payan. A red alert was issued to most departments in northern Colombia as heavy rain is expected to intensify over the next few days. So far, ten people have been killed during Colombia's current rainy season.

Mocoa still at risk nearly a year after deadly landslide

Investigations led by the National University of Colombia concluded that some areas around Mocoa are still under security risk due to last year's massive landslide. Geography Department's Professor German Vargas Cuervo said that intense rainfall may still cause rivers to overflow and trigger further landslides as the soil is still not settled. Mocoa is located in the department of Putumayo in southern Colombia. In April 2017, more than 330 people were killed and around 20,000 others were widely affected when heavy rainfall triggered flooding and landslides across the town.

ELN release hostages near Venezuela border

The ELN has released four hostages who were abducted near the border with Venezuela. The group were kidnapped in the Teorama municipality on Monday by a group purporting to be from the Guevarist organisation. Militants from the ELN have been clashing with former members of the Popular Liberation Army (EPL) for control of drug trafficking routes in Norte de Santander.

Two dead in nightclub shooting, Antioquia

Two people have been killed and four others wounded in a nightclub shooting in Taraza, Antioquia. Armed men opened fire on customers at the bar on Tuesday evening. Local police chief, Colonel Carlos Sierra, said criminal groups such as Los Caparrapos or the Clan del Golfo were likely behind the attack.

Rights leader shot dead in Rosas, Cauca

A 35-year-old social leader has been killed in an armed attack in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Belisario Ordonez is a well-known rights leader part of a victims' panel in the town of Rosas. According to the police, armed criminals targeted him while he and his son were leaving their home in Los Guaduales area. Ordonez's death comes on the same day that another social leader was gunned down in Meta.

Campesino leader killed near Mapiripan, Meta

A campesino leader has been killed when heavily armed men stormed her residence in Meta, central Colombia. Maria Magdalena Cruz Rojas was killed in front of her son and husband near the town of Mapiripan. Cruz Rojas was an advocate of the government's crop substitution programme, which has been introduced under the current peace process with the FARC. Since early-2017, more than 200 social leaders have been killed in Colombia.

Senior ELN member killed in Tibu, Norte de Santander

A senior member of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has been killed during a military operation in Tibu, Norte de Santander. According to Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas, alias 'Breimar' was killed in La Gabarra in the rural area of the restive Catatumbo region. Breimar was the leader of ELN's Luis Enrique Leon front, which is known to operate across the border into Venezuela. Breimar's detention comes after ELN's alias 'Fidel' was killed during a joint operation in Bolivar.

Authorities investigate public worker abduction in Arauca

Colombia's anti-kidnapping military unit is investigating the suspected abduction of a government employee in the rural area of Arauca, located near the Venezuela border. Jose Ataya Rodriguez is the manager of a local public services company. Preliminary investigations revealed that Rodriguez was kidnapped in the bordering town of Barracones and presumedly taken to Venezuela. Security tensions remain high along the porous Venezuelan border, where criminal and militant groups often engage in cross-border operations.

Thousands affected due to militant clashes in Norte de Santander

More than 20,000 people have been affected by ongoing clashes between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the People's Liberation Army (EPL) in the restive Catatumbo region, Norte de Santander. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), residents from more than 35 localities in San Calixto, El Carmen, Hacari, Sardinata, El Tarra and Convencion are facing restricted access to food and water or were forced to evacuate.

Community leader found dead in Caceres, Antioquia

A community leader has been killed in a fresh attack against social leaders in Antioquia, northern Colombia. Francisco Zabala was reported dead on Monday in the town of Caceres. Zabala was a local rural community leader in the Bajo Cauca region, where the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Clan del Golfo often engage in clashes to control territory. His death comes hours after the body of another social leader was found in Ituango.

Thousands affected after attack on power station in Tumaco, Narino

More than 58,000 people were affected after an armed attack on a power station in Tumaco, south-western Colombia's Narino department. The incident happened on Monday evening in the rural area of La Espriella. Preliminary investigations suggest that alias 'Guacho' - the leader of a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) - is potentially behind the attack. Since the FARC demobilisation, militant groups have expanded their operations across Narino department.

FARC calls ELN to cease killing of former guerrillas in Cauca

The Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) party has requested a meeting with the National Liberation Army (ELN) to discuss the increasing threat to demobilised FARC guerrillas in Colombia. The new-born political party is concerned over the systematic targeting of its members, especially in the western Cauca region. ELN militants have been accused of launching a violent campaign to secure coca-rich territory previously occupied by the FARC.

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Narino

Hundreds of people have been displaced due to ongoing clashes between security forces and an undisclosed armed group in Narino department, western Colombia. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the most affected area is the town of Roberto Payan. The region has been the main battleground between dissident FARC militants and members of the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Community leader found dead in Ituango, Antioquia

A community leader has been found dead in the rural area of Ituango, Antioquia. Jose Herrera was one of the founders of a local campesino association and used to work in the town of Valdivia. Herrera's body was found in the Filadelfia area on Thursday. In recent months, social and community leaders have been systematically targeted by local criminal and militant groups.

Soldier killed in armed clashes in Acandi, Choco

A soldier has been killed during clashes with Clan del Golfo militants in Choco, north-western Colombia. Security sources confirmed that Andres Cortes was shot dead when a confrontation broke out during a military operation in Acandi. The Clan del Golfo is Colombia's biggest criminal entity. It is often engaged in violent territorial disputes with rival militant groups in northern Colombia.

ELN militants kill soldier in Morales, Bolivar

A 24-year-old soldier has been killed during violent clashes between the military and members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Bolivar, northern Colombia. Guillermo Nunez Cruz was attacked while patrolling the rural area of Morales. Most recently, the government and the ELN agreed to resume peace talks after a wave of militant attacks hit northern Colombia. 

Ombudsman's office concerned over violence in northern Colombia

The Ombudsman's Office of Colombia has raised concerns over the wave of assassination and mass displacements reported in the first months of the year in northern Colombia. The main concerns highlighted relate to areas in southern Cordoba, northern Antioquia and Bajo Cauca. Incidents include high levels of homicide in Taraza and the killing of community leaders in San Jose de Ure. More than 2,000 people remain displaced due to ongoing territorial disputes involving criminal and militant groups.

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Norte de Santander

More than 1,300 people have been displaced due to ongoing clashes between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the People's Liberation Army (EPL) in Norte de Santander. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), ongoing clashes mainly affected residents in the towns of San Calixto and Hacari. The EPL, also referred as the 'Los Pelusos', has significantly expanded its presence across the Catatumbo area after the demobilisation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

UN highlights threat to rights activists in former FARC territory

The UN Human Rights Commissioner (UNHRC) has highlighted that human rights activists continue to be attacked nationwide despite the recently brokered peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). According to the UNHRC, most incidents are attributed to contract killers. It is believed that more than 80 activists were killed in 2017 across disputed areas vacated by FARC militants.

Estimate of FARC dissidents quadrupled

General Alberto Jose Mejia said on Tuesday that around 1,200 former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group did not disarm under a peace deal, which quadruples the estimate he made in February 2017.  Most members of the group handed over their weapons at the start of last year, and are now a non-violent, political party, following five decades of dispute with the government.  FARC dissidents have joined various criminal gangs and the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels, and the different groups continue to fight each other over lucrative drug trafficking and mining areas.  Over two hundred FARC dissidents have been captured or killed, or have surrendered since an offensive against them began in the middle of last year. 

Nine FARC dissidents killed in Guaviare

A joint air and ground operation of government forces on Monday left nine FARC dissidents dead in the Calamar region in the Guaviare department.  The Defence Minister Luis Carlos Villegas said that police were in the process of identifying two of the deceased, who were thought to be significant leaders of the Grupo Armado Organizado group, known by the aliases of  "Mordisco" and "Gentil Duarte", and who were involved with extortion and the protection of drug routes.  

Armed attack in Antioquia state kills two and injures five

On 17 March seven gunmen opened fire on a community group in Santa Rosita de Caucasia in Antioquia state, killing two and injuring five, three of them minors.  The Antioquia police said that preliminary investigations indicated that the incident could be part of a internal dispute between factions of the Clan de Golfo criminal gang. Local authorities requested assistance from the national police and intelligence services to combat the recent wave of violence.  

Huge drugs haul found on Tierra Bomba island

On Sunday 18 March, the National Guard discovered almost 700 kilos of cocaine at a collection centre on the island of Tierra Bomba, Cartagena.  According to official sources, the drugs belonged to the criminal organisation "Clan de Golfo", and was intended for distribution in Europe where it would have a street value of around $42 million.  

Three injured in grenade attack in Quirigua

On Sunday 18 March, three men were injured when a grenade was thrown at them as they sat in a park to the west of Bogota.  The suspect was arrested and police say that he was under the influence of alcohol.  The three were taken to a hospital for treatment to their injuries, and police siad that the man would be charged with attempted murder. 

Left-wing coalition suffers major blow in congressional vote

Millions of Colombians headed to the polls to cast their ballots in the country's historical congressional vote. The right-wing Democratic Centre (CD) was established as the biggest force in Congress, while both parties within President Juan Manuel Santos' left-wing coalition - the Liberal Party and the Party of National Unity - suffered a major blow. Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, the Liberal Party was the winner as the CD secured a close second place. Despite not acquiring enough to get additional seats, the Common Alternative Revolutionary Party (FARC) is guaranteed five seats in both houses of Congress - the FARC garnered 0,3 percent of the votes in Senate and 0,2 percent in the House.

Government to resume talks with the ELN

On Monday, President Juan Manuel Santos announced that the government is set to resume peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN). President Santos said in a televised speech that he is sending his negotiations team back to Ecuador. Peace talks with the ELN remain suspended since the latest ceasefire expired, when a number of attacks attributed to the group were reported, mostly in northern Colombia.

WFP director warns about migrant crisis along the Venezuelan border

The director of the World Food Programme (WFP), David Beasley, has said that Colombia urgently needs humanitarian assistance due to the high-influx of Venezuelan migrants in recent months. Beasley said during a visit to Cucuta that the current migrant situation in the region "could turn into an absolute disaster of unprecedented proportions for the Western Hemisphere." Venezuela has repeatedly refused international help to tackle widespread food and medicine shortages in the country, which are mainly attributed to hampering levels of inflation.

Cyber-attacks target Registry's web page ahead of congressional vote

Defense Minister Jorge Villegas has said that the web page of Colombia's National Civil Registry - which is in charge of the upcoming congressional elections - was targeted in a series of cyber-attacks. Villegas confirmed that in the past week, more than 28,000 cases were registered. However, four of them posed significant threats, including one believed to have come from Venezuela. The government has already raised concerns over potential fraud involving votes from a number of consulates across Venezuela.

Congressional elections to be held on 11 March

Millions of Colombians are set to cast their votes ahead of Sunday's congressional elections. This is the first vote in which the rebranded Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) will participate. Under the peace deal, the FARC has five seats guaranteed in each chamber of Congress. Additionally, 102 senators and 166 house members are set to be elected. Enhanced security measures were announced prior to and during the vote.

Land and maritime borders shut down ahead of legislative elections

Land and maritime borders nationwide will be temporarily shut down ahead of the legislative elections on Sunday. Migracion Colombia revealed that the measures will be enforced from Monday afternoon until Sunday. The government denied allegations that the move comes to curb immigration along the Venezuelan border and said that these measures are standard procedure before and during an election. 

FARC leader quits presidential race due to health conditions

The leader of the newly-formed Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC), Rodrigo Londono, is reportedly quitting his presidential bid ahead of the upcoming elections later in the year. Londono was set to undergo serious heart surgery as his health condition had worsened. If confirmed, the FARC has to choose a new presidential candidate before this Friday, the electoral registration deadline.

Air strike kills 10 ELN militants in Antioquia

At least 10 militants of the National Liberation Army (ELN) have been killed in an airstrike in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. According to the ministry of defence, the operation took place on Monday near the towns of Caceres and Anori. The objective was to target ELN's Dario de Jesus Ramirez Castro front, which was known to operate in the Bajo Cauca region and Cordoba. Military operations against the ELN have intensified since peace talks collapsed in early-January.

Weather warning issued over rainy season in Huila

Emergency services in the central department of Huila have announced that the rainy season in the region is set to last until mid-June. Regional authorities have already activated contingency plans across 37 municipalities. Travellers are advised to check for weather conditions through local media and official sources. Risks are significantly increased along river banks and mountainous areas. This year's rainy season is expected to be more intense than in 2017.

Senior ELN member detained in Fortul, Arauca

A senior member of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has been detained in a joint-operation in Arauca, northern Colombia. Police revealed that alias 'Tarco' was detained in the rural area of Fortul, where a number of incidents were recently reported. Dozens of ELN militants have already been detained since the start of the year. Peace talks with the group collapsed in January after the ELN resumed its armed campaign in northern Colombia.

Small blast leaves several injured during political rally in Antioquia

Several people have been reportedly injured after a small explosive device went off during a political rally in Antioquia, northern Colombia. The incident happened on Saturday when thousands were gathered to support two conservative candidates in Segovia. It remains unclear what the circumstances behind the incident were. Hernan Andrade, the head of the Conservative Party, openly condemned the attack. The incident came just days after another politician was supposedly targeted during a political rally in Cucuta, Norte de Santander.

Police officers killed in armed ambush in Cauca

Two police officers were killed after armed assailants ambushed a police patrol unit in Cauca, western Colombia. The incident happened on Saturday when police officers were attacked along the Caldono-Siberia road. Preliminary reports suggest that explosives and high-calibre weapons were used in the attack. Police are investigating the potential involvement of the National Liberation Army (ELN), which is known for operating in the region.

Five gold miners found dead near Amalfi, Antioquia

Five alleged gold miners have been found dead inside an incinerated vehicle in Antioquia, northern Colombia. According to local media, the victims were recovered near the town of Amalfi on Thursday. It is still unclear what the circumstances behind the accident are. Illegal gold mining is common in Antioquia, where rival groups and paramilitary entities often clash to secure territory.

Police officer killed near Turbo, Antioquia

A police officer has been killed and three others injured when armed assailants targeted a police vehicle in Antioquia, northern Colombia. The incident happened in the early hours of Wednesday in the rural area of Turbo. Police are investigating if members of the Clan del Golfo are behind the attack, which came as the authorities intensified operations against the group.

Soldier killed in attack to military base in Norte de Santander

A soldier has been killed and four others injured when a military base was targeted in Norte de Santander. Local media reported that on Wednesday, unknown militants targeted soldiers stationed in Convencion. The attack came a day after five soldiers were killed when targeted in a bomb attack orchestrated by the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Five soldiers killed as bomb hit convoy in Norte de Santander

Five soldiers have been killed and nine others injured when a military convoy was targeted with explosives near Cucuta, Norte de Santander. The incident happened in the early hours of Tuesday along the road between Cucuta and Tibu. Preliminary reports suggest that the four-vehicle convoy was hit by a remotely-activated explosive device. It is still unclear which group is behind the attack, but guerrilla and paramilitary groups are known to operate in the region.

ELN announces unilateral ceasefire ahead of legislative vote

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has announced a unilateral ceasefire ahead of the Colombian legislative elections. In a statement released on Monday, the ELN said that: “As a gesture of respect for Colombians who are voting, the National Liberation Army will halt offensive military operations between 9 and 13 March.” The legislative vote is scheduled for 11 March. The ELN continues to seek to resume peace talks with the government. Talks have collapsed after the group launched a number of attacks since the end of ceasefire back in January.

Series of attacks reported in Norte de Santander

Three people have been killed in a suspected militant attack in Norte de Santander. The incident happened on Sunday when presumed members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) launched an attack in Tibu. The incident came just hours after criminals targeted a police station in the same area. Reports also revealed that a military helicopter was targeted with explosives while delivering aid in Teorama. Both areas are located in the restive Catatumbo region, where militant and paramilitary groups widely operate.

OAS raises concerns over armed clashes in Bajo Cauca

The Organisation of American States (OAS) has raised concerns over the increasing number of civilians affected in violent clashes involving armed groups in northern Colombia. The OAS's Mission to Support the Peace Process in Colombia (MAPP) revealed that predominantly indigenous and afro-Colombian population are being forcefully displaced from the rural areas of Antioquia and Cordoba. The National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Clan del Golfo often engage in clashes to control areas in the Bajo Cauca region.

Night-time curfew introduced over unrest in southern Bogota

Local authorities launched a night-time curfew in some neighbourhoods in southern Bogota to curb a recent wave of unrest. The curfew was introduced on Thursday and is set to last until Monday across the neighbourhoods of Usme and Ciudad Bolivar. Under the rules, minors are forbidden from walking unaccompanied in those neighbourhoods between 21:00 and 04:00. Stores started to be attacked last week after the Attorney General's Office said that a number of shops used to launder money to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Social leader shot dead in El Tarra, Norte de Santander

A 36-year-old social leader has been found dead in El Tarra, Norte de Santander. According to the police, Elkin Fabian Toro's body was discovered with six gunshot wounds. El Espectador revealed that Fabian Toro used to work at a local media station and left his job at the local community board last year. El Tarra is located in the Catatumbo region, where paramilitary and drug-trafficking groups widely operate.

Hundreds trapped due to ongoing ELN operations in Bagado, Choco

Nearly 1,000 people had their movements restricted due to ongoing operations of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Choco, north-western Colombia. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), threats and actions of the ELN in the rural area of Bagado has been affecting local indigenous communities since last week. Thousands of people have already been displaced or trapped in recent months due to violent armed clashes in Choco.

Senior ELN member detained over Barranquilla bombing

A senior member of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has been detained for links to the Barranquilla bombing where seven police officers were killed in late-January. President Juan Manuel Santos has confirmed that Rafael Antonio Botero Restrepo, alias 'Tista', is also accused of recruiting minors to join ELN fronts in northern Colombia. Earlier in the week, the government announced a fresh crackdown on ELN's core leadership over recent operations nationwide.

Weather alert issued over large waves in northern Colombia

A red weather warning has been issued for northern Colombia due to strong winds and large waves expected for the next 72 hours. The alert includes the whole Caribbean region and the departments of Atlantico and Bolivar. Colombia's Institute of Hydrology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) recommended travellers to avoid nautical activities and remain vigilant along coastal areas as waves of up to four metres are expected across the whole region.

President Santos highlights challenges to resume ELN talks

On Tuesday, President Juan Manuel Santos highlighted challenges to resume peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN). President Santos said that the ELN has not been coherent with its intentions regarding the dialogue and that talks would be very difficult to resume. Peace talks have been suspended since late-January after the ELN launched a fresh insurgency campaign in northern Colombia.

ELN launches fresh attacks amid armed strike in northern Colombia

A police officer has been killed and three bystanders injured when militants opened fire at a restaurant in Arauca, northern Colombia. Reports revealed that Jorge Saenz was killed when members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) raided the building on Tuesday morning. In Antioquia, the group has been accused of bombing a railway linked to Colombia's largest coal mine. Rights organisations further condemned the death of three activists and two members of the FARC political party in less than 24 hours. The attacks came amid the so-called armed strike, which was called by the ELN to push for peace talks.

Ecopetrol suspends operations due to unrest in Meta

The state-owned oil company, Ecopetrol, has announced on Sunday the suspension of its operations in central Colombia due to an ongoing wave of unrest in Meta department. The announcement came after hooded assailants stormed Ecopetrol facilities in the region and threatened workers. Tensions between the company and the local community remain high due to Ecopetrol's hiring of outsiders.

Colombian judges issue arrest orders to ELN leadership

Colombian judges have issued an arrest order to 27 National Liberation Army (ELN) leaders in a fresh government crackdown against the country's largest guerrilla group. Among them are alias 'Gabino' and the group's chief negotiator, Isael Ramirez, alias 'Pablo Beltran'. Meanwhile, in a press conference, the head of the Colombian Armed Forces, Alberto Mejia, has revealed that the core leadership of the ELN is currently stationed in Venezuela.

Soldier killed during armed standoff with the ELN in Valdivia, Antioquia

A 29-year-old soldier has been shot dead during armed clashes with suspected members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Local authorities told El Pais that Jhon Jairo Delgado was killed when soldiers attempted to curb a fresh bomb attack on a bridge in Valdivia. The ELN has intensified its operations in recent days during its so-called armed strike. A number of bomb attacks were already reported in areas controlled by the ELN, especially in northern Colombia.

Toll booths targeted in fresh ELN bomb attacks in Cesar

A wave of bomb attacks has been reported in northern Colombia as the National Liberation Army (ELN) launched its so-called armed strike. After two separate bomb attacks targeted a bridge and a road in Cesar department, two toll booths were targeted with explosives in Aguachica and Gamarra. Meanwhile, in the neighbouring department of Norte de Santander, two presumed militants were killed when they tried to plant a bomb at the El Palermo bridge. The ELN announced that the armed strike is set to last until Tuesday in an attempt to pressure the government to resume peace talks.

ELN launches bomb attack at bridge in Cesar

Traffic has been heavily restricted after a bomb attack took place at a bridge in Cesar, northern Colombia. According to the military, presumed members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) planted an explosive at the Simana bridge between Pelaya and Aguachica. Meanwhile, the ELN has also being accused of another bomb attack in the nearby area of Curumani. No casualties have been so far reported. Over the weekend, the ELN was engaged in a so-called armed strike, which was enforced across areas controlled by the guerrilla group.

ELN suspected of killing FARC member in Montecristo, Bolivar

The Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) has accused the National Liberation Army (ELN) of the killing of one of its members in Bolivar, northern Colombia. In a statement released on Thursday, the former guerrilla group said that Kevin Lugo Jaramillo was shot dead in the rural area of Montecristo. The FARC called for guarantees as since the peace deal was signed back in 2016, around 50 FARC members were killed.

Police officers released after being held in Tumaco, Narino

Colombia's defence ministry has reported that the 14 police officers held hostage since Wednesday were released. The officers were engaged in operations to eradicate illicit crops across the coca-rich region of Tumaco, Narino department, when they were held by armed campesinos. Tumaco houses one of the main Colombian ports along the Pacific. It is believed that thousands of tonnes of cocaine leave the Colombian shores through the remote and restive town.

FARC to suspend electoral campaign due to rising tensions

Colombian media has reported that the Common Alternative Revolutionary Party (FARC) is set to temporarily suspend its electoral campaign due to recent incidents involving the FARC leadership. The FARC is set to announce the move later on Friday due to a recent wave of unrest reported during rallies of party's leader Rodrigo Timochenko. Tensions involving the new-born party have already generated concerns after a number of FARC members were attacked during the campaign.

Military to be deployed along Venezuelan border over migrant influx

On Thursday, President Juan Manuel Santos announced that thousands of additional soldiers will be deployed to curb the high influx of migrants from Venezuela. In a visit to the bordering  town of Cucuta, President Santos said: “Colombia has never lived a situation like the one we are encountering today.” Venezuela is currently facing a deep political and economic crisis. Thousands cross the Colombian border daily. It is estimated that in less than six months, more than 300,000 migrants arrived in the country.

Power outages due to pylon explosion in Guaviare

More than 20,000 people woke up without power in their houses after militants blew up a pylon in Guaviare, central Colombia. On Saturday overnight, power outages heavily affected areas around the department's capital, San Jose del Guaviare, and some cities in the neighbouring Meta department. The military is investigating if the incident is linked to a dissident front of the FARC, which left a poster at the scene. Power has since been restored. FARC militants who rejected the peace agreement continue to be active especially in Guaviare and Meta departments.

Authorities warn for express-kidnaps in northern Cauca

Regional authorities have raised concerns over a recent wave of express-kidnaps - when the victim is held for a short period - recorded in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Three businessmen were targeted last month in the northern region of the department. Police commander William Salamanca told El Pais that criminals carry out abductions to extort business owners and their families. He said that dissident members of the FARC are believed to be behind the abductions.

State of emergency declared over tonnes of garbage in Bogota

Bogota's Mayor Enrique Penalosa has declared a state of emergency as tonnes of waste are being dumped on the streets across the capital due to the ongoing garbage collectors strike. Workers are engaged in strike action due to planned job cuts in the public-owned company Aguas de Bogota. Penalosa claims that the state of emergency comes to avoid health hazards as he seeks to hire additional workers and collection services to relieve the piling up of rubbish.

Social leader found dead in Tibu, Norte de Santander

A social leader has been found dead in the rural area of Tibu, Norte de Santander. Sandra Yaneth Luna was the local leader of the Totumito Carboneras community. El Espectator reported that she has been reported missing for nearly five months after she was kidnapped from her home. It is still unclear which group is behind the incident. Tibu is located in the restive Catatumbo region, where militant and paramilitary entities widely operate.

ELN announces shutdown to pressure peace talks restart

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has informed that a so-called economic shutdown will take effect later in the week in an attempt to pressure the government to resume peace talks. Commercial and transport activity is set to be suspended between Saturday and Tuesday across the guerilla-controlled territory. The move was announced by ELN's commander in western Choco province, alias 'Uriel'. The ELN is mostly present in the western Colombian coast and around the northern departments of Arauca and Norte de Santander.

EPL engages in clashes with the army in Norte de Santander

Dozens of families have been displaced due to ongoing armed clashes in Norte de Santander. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), residents across El Tarra were forced to leave their homes in both urban and rural areas of the city due to a violent confrontation between the Colombian Army and the People's Liberation Army (EPL). OCHA reported that threats to community leaders and women's social groups are recurrent in El Tarra.

Hundreds at displacement risk due to military operations in Choco

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported that more than 560 people still have their movements restricted due to ongoing military operations in the coastal area of Choco, south-western Colombia. Preliminary updates revealed that clashes with the National Liberation Army (ELN) may incur the further displacement of more than 1,500 people in the area of Litoral de San Juan. In late-January, the Colombian Air Force bombed ELN positions in the area.

ELN targets oil pipeline in Saravena, Arauca

On Monday, Colombia's military reported that the National Liberation Army (ELN) has launched a fresh bomb attack targeting oil pipelines in northern Colombia. According to the state-owned oil company Ecopetrol, a significant stretch of the Cano Limon-Convenas pipeline was damaged in the rural area of Saravena, Arauca. This is the latest attack targeting the 485-mile pipeline attributed to the ELN since the ceasefire deal expired in early-January.

Protests break out as FARC leader visits hometown in Quindio

Violent protests erupted as hundreds of people gathered on Saturday to receive the FARC presidential candidate, Rodrigo Londono, at his hometown in Quindio department. Tensions erupted on the streets of La Tebaida as a group of protesters threw stones and vandalised his armoured SUV. Londono is running as a candidate for the new-born Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC), which is granted 10 seats in Congress as part of the peace agreement signed in 2016.

Venezuela's opposition seeks to meet President Santos in Cucuta

Venezuela's side-lined parliament, the National Assembly (AN), has requested to meet with President Juan Manuel Santos as he heads to the border town of Cucuta on Thursday. A member of the opposition-controlled body submitted the request to the Colombian Embassy in Caracas. President Santos is set to visit Cucuta to address the mass migration issue along the Venezuelan border.

Two-year-old child dies in grenade attack in Ituango, Antioquia

A two-year-old child has been killed in a grenade attack in the urban area of Ituango, northern Antioquia. Local media reported that the victim was hit by the blast on Sunday and rushed to a hospital, where she succumbed to her wounds. It is unclear what group is behind the attack. Officials revealed that ongoing clashes erupted in Ituango last week between a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and members of the Clan del Golfo.

Government opens migrant shelter on Venezuelan border

A Red Cross-run shelter has been opened on the porous border with Venezuela due to the daily influx of thousands of migrants. The shelter was opened on Saturday in the north-eastern city of Cucuta. It seeks to provide assistance to pregnant women, children and the elderly who arrive in the country legally. It is estimated that more than 35,000 Venezuelans arrive in Colombia each day, but the number is expected to significantly increase due to Venezuela's deep economic crisis.

Armed clashes affect hundreds in Cumbal, Narino

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Saturday that hundreds of indigenous families remain isolated due to ongoing armed clashes in southern Colombia's Narino department. According to a report, around 570 people from several indigenous communities in Cumbal have had their movements restricted since late-January, when violence broke out between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Strong winds trigger weather warning to Caribbean coast

A weather warning has been issued for the Colombian Caribbean region due to strong winds and large waves. The alert is expected to last until Tuesday and mainly includes coastal areas in the departments of Atlantico, Magdalena and Bolivar. It is widely advised to remain vigilant and avoid getting into the sea or engaging in the practice of water activities.

Authorities warn of wildfire risks across Andean region

Colombian authorities have issued a warning for the risk of wildfires in central and northern Colombia. The red alert includes some areas across departments in the Andean region such as Antioquia, Boyaca, Cundinamarca, Norte de Santander and Santander. Generally, wildfire risks nationwide are expected to last until March mainly due to high-temperatures and dry weather conditions.

DEA requests extradition of four Medellin drug lords

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has requested the extradition of four jailed drug lords who are believed to control operations from prison. All of them are senior members of the infamous criminal syndicate Oficina de Envigado. The Oficina and the paramilitary Clan del Golfo are currently engaged in violent territorial disputes across Medellin. Last week, four bodies were recovered wrapped in bedsheets in the western area of the city.

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Caceres, Antioquia

Nearly 700 people have been displaced due to ongoing clashes between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Clan del Golfo group in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the campesinos and indigenous population across 10 communities around Caceres are being widely affected. Additionally, around 500 people were also displaced in San Jose de Ure, in the neighbouring department of Cordoba. The ELN and the Clan del Golfo often engage in clashes to control areas in the Bajo Cauca region.

Three former FARC members killed in La Florida, Narino

Members of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) have condemned the assassination of three former guerrillas in the restive department of Narino, south-western Colombia. In a communique, the political party accused the National Liberation Army (ELN) of being behind the attack, which occurred in the rural area of La Florida, near the Ecuadorian border. According to the new-born political party, nearly 40 of its former combatants were killed nationwide since the peace deal with the government was signed.

UN workers robbed at gunpoint in El Paujil, Caqueta

Six Colombian nationals working for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have been robbed in Caqueta, southern Colombia. Local media reported that five armed criminals approached the UN staffers while they were monitoring a crop substitution programme in El Paujil. Their vehicles were robbed along with their satnav and mobile phones. No one was injured. Caqueta and the neighbouring department of Putumayo together host 24 percent of the country's coca plantations. Criminal groups dedicated to drug-trafficking often use intimidation against social leaders and workers linked to coca substitution initiatives.

Authorities warn of the risk of wildfires in Santander

Colombia's Institute of Hydrology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) has issued a warning for the potential risk of wildfires in Santander, northern Colombia. Around 60 villages are on the highest alert while 10 others are on a lower orange warning. The most concerns are in the department's capital, Bucaramanga, where this year already recorded more than 20 wildfires. Wildfire risks are expected to be extended until March mainly due to high-temperatures and dry weather conditions.

Criminals raid aircraft transporting cash in Aguachica, Cesar

A light-aircraft and a sum equivalent to $610k were stolen at an airfield in Cesar, north-western Colombia. According to military sources, four unknown criminals approached the aircraft just as it landed at a small airport in Aguachica. El Espectador revealed that both the plane and the money were later recovered by the army in a nearby community. Colombian media revealed that the Piper PA-3A aircraft was contracted by a security company to transport a large sum of Colombian pesos from the neighbouring department of Norte de Santander.

Four bodies recovered across western Medellin, Antioquia

Four bodies have been recovered in several locations across Medellin, north-western Colombia. Local authorities revealed that the victims were all found wrapped in bedsheets in areas near the Robledo neighbourhood, western Medellin. Investigations have been launched to identify the victims and assess if the incident is linked to an ongoing dispute involving rival criminal factions.

Colombian general accuses ELN of recruiting Venezuelan migrants

The head of the Colombian Armed Forces, General Alberto Jose Mejia, said on Wednesday morning that members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) are recruiting Venezuelan nationals. He said that the ELN is illegally introducing Venezuelans to increase its fronts and to engage in criminal activity against the government and the general public. The ELN is accused of engaging in cross-border operations along the porous Venezuelan border, where criminal groups often engage in violent disputes to control smuggling and drug-trafficking routes.

Air Force bombs ELN strongholds near Buenaventura

Colombia's armed forces announced on Tuesday that a joint operation to target members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has been launched in Choco department, north-western Colombia. Members of the police followed air raids carried out by the Colombian Air Force in the town of Litoral del San Juan, near Buenaventura. No casualties were so far reported, but several indigenous communities were affected. The military offensive has been launched to capture leaders of an ELN front in southern Choco, which were dedicated to extortion and the drug trade. The raid comes a day after President Juan Manuel Santos suspended peace talks due to ELN attacks in northern Colombia.

Government suspends talks with the ELN over recent bombings

President Juan Manuel Santos has ordered the suspension of peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) due to a wave of attacks perpetrated since the ceasefire expiration. Tensions between the government and the ELN remain high since early-January when the left-wing rebel group opted to resume its insurgency campaign. Over the weekend, the ELN claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing of a police station in the northern city of Barranquilla.

Democratic Centre to dispute FARC's presidential bid at the ICC

A member of the Colombian House of Representatives announced on Saturday their intention to dispute the presidential bid of the FARC's leader, Rodrigo Londono within the International Criminal Court (ICC). Democratic Centre's - Colombia's right-wing party of former President Alvaro Uribe - Edward Rodriguez has said that Londono's presidential bid violates ICC's Rome Statute, which dictates investigations on four core crimes. Rodriguez is set to launch his own bid for a seat in Senate ahead of the legislative elections scheduled for mid-March. On Saturday, Londono officially launched his presidential bid as a candidate for the rebranded Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) party.

Social leader shot dead in Buenaventura, Cauca Valley

A social leader has been shot dead when gunmen stormed his residence in the restive town of Buenaventura, Cauca Valley. Temistocles Machado was gunned down on Saturday in Isla de la Paz neighbourhood. Machado was one of the most influent social leaders in the region and had reportedly faced death threats in recent years due to his work as a land rights advocate. Buenaventura is an isolated port city in the Cauca Valley, where criminal and paramilitary groups widely operate.

Businessman kidnapped in Santander de Quilichao, Cauca

A 50-year-old businessman has been kidnapped in the rural area of Santander de Quilichao, Cauca department. Local authorities revealed that Oscar Escobar Ramirez was abducted on Friday afternoon when four armed men forced him into a pick-up truck just as he arrived at his home in San Rafael area. Ramirez is the owner of a local business in Cali. Security measures have been reinforced across Cauca after several kidnapping cases were recently reported in the department.

ELN grenade attack kills seven police officers in Barranquilla

At least seven police officers have been killed and more than 40 others injured in a grenade attack on a police station in southern Barranquilla, northern Colombia. The incident happened on Saturday morning when assailants on a motorcycle threw an explosive device at police officers in San Jose neighbourhood. The National Liberation Army (ELN) claimed responsibility for the attack, which was widely condemned by President Juan Manuel Santos. President Santos also announced the deployment of more than 1,500 addition officers to support local police. The incident came one day after a similar attack took place in Soledad. ELN fronts have significantly intensified their attacks since the ceasefire expired earlier in the month.

Police officers killed in bomb attack in Santa Rosa, Bolivar

Two police officers have been killed in a fresh bomb attack against a police station in Bolivar, northern Colombia. The attack happened on Sunday morning when criminals targeted police officers in Santa Rosa. It remains unclear which group is behind the attack, but investigations are being carried out to assess any involvement of the National Liberation Army (ELN). This is the third bomb attack against police stations reported in northern Colombia in less than 24 hours.

Four ELN militants killed in joint operation in Norte de Santander

Four members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) have been killed during a joint military operation in Norte de Santander. The operation took place in the rural area of Chitaga under the so-called 'Operation Esparta', which seeks to capture and destroy ELN strongholds across the department. According to local media, a financial leader of an ELN front is among the casualties. The operation comes a day after six other militants were also killed in military incursions in Antioquia.

Armed clashes trigger mass displacement in Narino

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Wednesday that dozens of families have been displaced due to ongoing armed clashes between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and dissident fronts of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). According to the report, violent clashes erupted last week in the community of Magui Payan in Narino department, south-western Colombia. Amnesty International revealed this week that more than 1,000 people were displaced in less than 96 hours due to clashes in Bajo Cauca, Cordoba, Boyaca and Casanare. 

FARC condemns attack on its headquarters in Quibdo, Choco

Members of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) have condemned on Wednesday a raid on one of its headquarters in Choco department, north-western Colombia. According to the political party, criminals stormed the FARC headquarters in Quibdo. In a press conference, the group attributed the attack to ongoing threats posed by the paramilitary Clan del Golfo group and demanded immediate security from the Colombian government. The party has recently announced that 74 FARC candidates will launch their bid ahead of the upcoming elections. It is reported that more than 35 former guerrillas were already killed since the conclusion of the peace agreement.

Indigenous communities displaced due to clashes in Cumbal, Narino

Dozens of people from several indigenous communities in southern Narino have been displaced due to fierce clashes between two armed groups near the Ecuadorian border. Local authorities revealed that more than 70 people were forced to flee their homes in the rural area of Cumbal when violent shooting broke out on Monday and Tuesday. A local mayor revealed that the confrontation is potentially linked to the ongoing dispute between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and dissident fronts of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

ELN militants killed in operation in Valdivia, Antioquia

At least six National Liberation Army (ELN) militants have been killed and two others injured during a military operation in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Colombia's Army launched an operation dubbed 'Espartano 7', which aimed to capture members of an ELN front operating in Taraza. Violent shooting broke out when soldiers encountered militants in the rural area of Valdivia. The area has been known for mass displacements attributed to territorial disputes between the ELN and the Clan del Golfo group. On Monday, the ELN and the government resumed peace talks after a wave of militant attacks erupted just as the ceasefire deal expired.

Hundreds displaced due to security risk in Cordoba

Hundreds of people have been forcefully displaced after an armed group killed a social leader in Cordoba, northern Colombia. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 400 people across five indigenous communities were forced to head to urban areas due to increased security risks in the rural region of San Jose de Ure. Shooting has also been reported in the area of Campamento, which is known for the presence of the paramilitary group Clan del Golfo. Locals told authorities that social leaders are often threatened in the region.

Health authorities report avian flu outbreak in Cundinamarca

Regional health authorities have issued an alert for the outbreak of a type of viral bird disease in Cundinamarca, central Colombia. The alert warned people to avoid contact with domestic birds and poultry due to a potential risk of infection from the virus known as the Newcastle disease. Just after the announcement, the Colombian Institute of Agropecuary (ICA) launched a contingency plan to curb the spreading of the outbreak. According to ICA, the sanitary emergency was previously announced back in December and highlighted that the major risk is posed to other birds. ICA further said that the virus is not hazardous to humans - apart from mild conjunctivitis - and that the ingestion of meat and eggs are not an issue.

Three peasants killed as criminals raid village in Argelia, Cauca

Three people have been killed and several others injured when armed criminals stormed a village in southern Cauca, south-western Colombia. Reports suggest that nearly a dozen men raided the area of El Plateado in Argelia and killed three local peasants. Rights sources told El Pais that it is unclear what circumstances are behind the attack and confirmed that criminal groups widely operate in the region. 

Authorities concerned over mass displacements in northern Colombia

The Ombudsman's Office of Colombia has issued concerns after more than 1,000 people were forcibly displaced due to ongoing territorial disputes between guerilla groups and the paramilitary. It stated in a report that between 17 and 20 January, mass displacements took place in areas across Bajo Cauca, southern Cordoba and the bordering towns between Boyaca and Casanare. Violent disputes and hampering levels of criminality have been mainly attributed to the intensification of operations led by the National Liberation Army (ELN), dissident FARC fronts and paramilitary groups.

Five killed as bus plunges off cliff in Antioquia

At least five people were killed and 17 others were injured when a bus plunged off a cliff in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Preliminary reports revealed that the accident happened on Monday morning in Don Matias. It is believed that the driver lost control after colliding with a lorry. Emergency services rushed to scene as casualty figures are expected to increase.

Dissident militants target FARC politicians in Arauca

A vehicle transporting members of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) has been ambushed in Arauca, northern Colombia. Local media reported on Monday afternoon that armed militants opened fire and set their vehicle ablaze while they were travelling across El Oasis area in Arauquita. A civilian was killed after being collaterally hit. Reports revealed that FARC politicians were in the area to discuss plans to eradicate illicit crops. It remains unclear which group is potentially behind the attack, but preliminary investigations suggest links to dissident members of the former guerrilla group. Last week, two members of the FARC were also killed while campaigning in Antioquia.

Several killed in bar massacre in Yarumal, Antioquia

At least seven people have been killed when heavily armed criminals stormed a local bar in the rural area of Antioquia, north-western Colombia. The incident happened on Sunday evening in La Estrella village, located in the rural area of Yarumal. Local authorities told Colombian media that four heavily armed criminals raided the venue and indiscriminately opened fire. It remains unclear which group is behind the attack, while authorities are still investigating the potential involvement of the National Liberation Army (ELN) or the Clan del Golfo.

Security beefed up over robberies rising in Bogota

President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Sunday his plans to deploy more than 500 additional police officers to the streets of Bogota amid a wave of robberies reported in the capital. Local authorities have recorded a hampering increase of 60 percent in the number of robberies, which are mainly attributed to local street gangs. Colombia's Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez raised concerns over the increasing levels of impunity regarding the premature release of suspects and recidivist criminals. Street crime is common across major Colombian cities. Criminals may be armed and often employ the use of force.

Weather alert issued over landslides in the Andean region

A weather alert has been issued for northern Colombia's Andean region due to the increasing risks of landslides. Colombian authorities revealed that the warning includes villages, towns and roads across the departments of Antioquia, Boyaca, Caldas, Cundinamarca, Huila, Norte de Santander and Quindio. Caution is widely advisable when travelling to those areas as heavy rainfall may trigger dangerous landslides and widespread flooding.

Government negotiator to return to Quito amid ELN peace talks

Colombia's head negotiator at the peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) is set to return to Quito, Ecuador, in a renewed attempt from the government to reach a new ceasefire deal. President Juan Manuel Santos has said on Twitter that: “Gustavo Bell will travel to Quito to explore the possibility of a new ceasefire that will allow a continuation of peace negotiations with the ELN." A new round of talks was set to start early in the month after the expiration of a 101-day ceasefire agreement. However, Bell was recalled from Quito after the ELN resumed its armed campaign.

Several killed as landslide drags bus over a cliff in Narino

At least 13 people have been killed when a bus fell off a cliff in Narino, south-western Colombia. Emergency service revealed on Saturday that a massive landslide hit near Tuquerres and dragged the vehicle over a cliff. The bus was carrying 16 passengers from Tumaco to Pasto. Rescue efforts continue to be carried out to assess if more vehicles remain trapped under more than 5,000 cubic metres of rock and earth.

Social leader shot dead in Yondo, Antioquia

A social leader has been killed in an armed attack in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. According to local authorities, Victor Morato was shopping at a store in Yondo on Wednesday evening, when he was shot several times. Police officers launched an investigation to assess the circumstances behind the attack. Several social leaders were gunned down last year across Antioquia. The UN mission in the country has raised concerns over the rising number of deaths of social and community leaders amid peace negotiations with the ELN and the conclusion of the peace deal with the FARC.

Six police officers targeted in ambush in Mesetas, Meta

At least six police officers have been injured during an ambush on a police patrol unit in Meta department, central Colombia. Preliminary reports suggest that the incident happened in the rural area of Mesetas when a police truck was targeted with explosives and bullets. It is believed that members of a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are behind the attack. Dissident FARC militants who rejected the peace agreement continue to be active, to varying degrees, throughout several departments in Colombia, especially in Guaviare and Meta departments.

Two former FARC militants killed while campaigning in Antioquia

Two demobilised members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been shot dead while engaged in a political campaign in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. In a statement released on Wednesday, the former guerrilla's party - Common Alternative Revolutionary Force - said: “Wilmar Asprilla and Angel de Jesus Montoya were in the municipality conducting a community meeting and preparing a meeting to support the candidate for the house of representatives of Antioquia.” Reports revealed that the incident happened late on Tuesday evening in the rural area of Peque. FARC's leader, Rodrigo Londono, is set to run for president, while the party is guaranteed five seats in both houses of Congress. The UN Verification Mission in Colombia has highlighted concerns regarding the increasing killings targeting social leaders and former FARC militants alongside the guarantee of free political participation in the upcoming elections. 

Seven dead in military helicopter crash in Antioquia

At least seven people have been killed when a military helicopter crashed in Antioquia, northern Colombia. According to the Army, the MI-17 aircraft was travelling from Caucasia to Segovia during a routine fuel inspection of military aircraft. Ten people were on board, including two civilians. 

Armed group attacks police station in Riosucio, Choco

On Sunday, an armed group targeted a police station in Choco department, north-western Colombia. Social groups revealed that the police station of Belen de Bajira in Riosucio was targeted with grenades. No major structural damages or casualties were reported. Regional officials have ordered the deployment of additional police officers to the region. Local police believe that members of the Clan de Golfo group are behind the attack. The area is also known for the presence of the National Liberation Army (ELN), which has recently resumed its insurgency campaign after a ceasefire deal with the government expired last week.

UN warn of further displacements after end of ELN ceasefire

On Monday, aid groups and the UN have warned that thousands of Colombians are at risk of being displaced due to ongoing incursions involving paramilitary groups and the National Liberation Army (ELN). As the ceasefire between the government and the ELN expires, the head of the UNHCR in Colombia, Jozef Merkx, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that: "We are worried about new displacements along the whole Pacific Coast where we have seen a lot of new displacements in 2017." Tensions in the region remain high since the demobilisation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Paramilitary groups and the ELN continue their quest to conquer the power vacuum left by the FARC across major jungle areas. Most concerns also regard the Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities living across jungle villages in southern Colombia.

Several workers killed in bridge collapse near Bogota

At least 10 people have been killed when a bridge under construction collapsed near Bogota. Colombia's Civil Defense authority revealed that the collapse happened on Monday afternoon on a road between the capital and Villavicencio. Search and rescue efforts were launched as four people were still missing during the course of the evening. All victims were construction workers at the Chirajara bridge, a 446-metres-long structure planned to connect Bogota to Villavicencio.

ELN members kidnap oil worker in Saravena, Arauca

Presumed members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) have kidnapped an oil-worker in Arauca, northern Colombia. Rafael Riano Ravelo was taken when armed criminals raided his office on Modelo neighbourhood in Saravena. Riano Ravelo works for the company Ismocol, a construction contractor to the state-owned oil company Ecopetrol. The incident happened on Saturday morning while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was arriving to meet President Juan Manuel Santos. Guterres is in Colombia to discuss further arrangements in the ELN peace talks, whose ceasefire deal expired last week. Since then, the group opted to resume its insurgency campaign through attacking oil pipelines and government targets.

Police officers targeted in grenade attack in Meta

Two police officers have been injured in a grenade attack in Meta department, central Colombia. The incident happened on Thursday evening when both officers were patrolling the streets near a hotel in Puerto Concordia. Local media reported that official sources confirmed that the attack was carried out by dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Regional authorities are set to meet to discuss the current security situation in Meta and Guaviare, where dissident FARC members remain widely active.

Police officers killed in armed attack in Arauca

At least two police officers have been killed when armed assailants attacked a patrol unit in the bordering city of Arauca, northern Colombia. Local media reported that the incident happened on Thursday evening in an area between the neighbourhoods of Libertadores and Miramar, close to the Venezuelan border. Reports revealed that both officers were targeted when criminals riding a motorcycle opened fire. It remains unclear which group is behind the attack, but police are investigating a potential connection to the National Liberation Army (ELN). Arauca is one of the main regions where the ELN operates. This week, as the ceasefire deal expired, the ELN resumed its insurgency campaign forcing the government to withdraw its team from the negotiation table.

UN highlights challenges to implementation of FARC peace deal

The head of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia, Jean Arnault, told Wednesday the UN Security Council on Wednesday that Colombia still faces a number of challenges regarding the implementation of the peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Arnault said that: “While the building blocks of stabilization are being put in place, we cannot lose sight of the challenges of reintegration. But we continue to view with concern the socioeconomic reintegration of the 14,000 former combatants." Meanwhile, the UN Security Council also raised concerns over tensions regarding the peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN), which has resumed its campaign of violence following the expiration of a three-month ceasefire.

Weather alerts issued to northern and western Colombia

Colombia's Institute of Hydrology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) has issued a weather alert for potential floods caused by the rising levels of rivers in western Colombia. A Red alert was issued to towns and villages located along the Pacific coast, the Cauca Valley and northern Cauca department. A lower-scale Orange alert was declared in the Caribbean coast, Narino and Choco departments. An alert was also issued over the increased risks of landslides in villages in Antioquia and Caldas departments, and also across the Pacific, the Caribbean and Andean regions.

Soldiers engage in clashes with paramilitary group in Canalete, Cordoba

Four presumed members of the outlawed group Clan del Golfo have been shot dead after a violent armed confrontation in Cordoba department, northern Colombia. According to the Colombian Army, soldiers were carrying out an operation against two factions of the group when shooting broke out in the rural area of Canalete. Two soldiers were injured and later rushed to hospital. The incident comes days after three bodies were recovered in the rural area of Cordoba's Tierralta in a suspected dispute between the Clan del Golfo and dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

President Santos recalls negotiator as ELN resumes attacks

President Juan Manuel Santos has recalled his chief negotiator, Gustavo Bell, from the negotiations table with the National Liberation Army (ELN) after the country's largest guerrilla group resumed its insurgency campaign. Just as the three-month ceasefire between both parties expired on Wednesday, the ELN launched a bomb attack on an oil pipeline in Aguazul, central department of Casanare. ELN militants also targeted a military base in the northern department of Arauca, where two soldiers were injured. In a press conference on Wednesday, President Santos said: "We were always, I repeat, always ready to extend the ceasefire with the ELN and negotiate very quickly for a new cycle of talks. The ELN not only rejected this process but chose to restart their terrorist attacks on the very day that they were obliged to initiate the new round of negotiations".

ELN negotiations set to enter new phase as ceasefire deal expires

The ceasefire between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Colombian government expired on Tuesday. Both parties are set to meet in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, as a new phase of negotiations will be launched next Monday. President Juan Manuel Santos and the ELN leadership have already announced their intention to extend the ceasefire which brought violence to a halt across guerrilla-controlled areas. The ELN and the government have been negotiating since February and had reached last October ceasefire under the supervision of the UN and the Catholic Church. Colombia's largest guerrilla group seeks to achieve a similar deal to the one reached with the FARC, which has recently been transformed into a political party.

ELN clashes with FARC dissidents in Policarpa, Narino

Militants of the National Liberation Army (ELN) have reportedly clashed with FARC dissident members in Narino department, south-western Colombia. Reports suggest that at least four people were killed and six others were captured during an armed attack in the rural area of Policarpa. Narino has become one of the main guerilla battlegrounds since the FARC demobilised. Paramilitary and guerrilla groups often fight to control strategic drug-rich areas in the department. This week, more than 2,000 soldiers were deployed to Narino's port town of Tumaco in a massive crackdown to drug-trafficking in the region.

Three killed in presumed territorial dispute in Tierralta, Cordoba

On Monday afternoon, police officers in Cordoba department recovered three bodies in the rural area of Tierralta. Preliminary reports revealed that one of the victims was missing for several days and was a presumed member of the Clan del Golfo. Police revealed that investigations suggest that the deaths were caused during an apparent dispute with suspected dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In November, Colombian authorities warned of the increasing presence of the Clan del Golfo in Tierralta, where hundreds of indigenous families were displaced due to violent armed confrontations.

Thousands deployed in military operation in Tumaco, Narino

Thousands of soldiers have been mobilised to take part in a massive military operation in Narino department, south-western Colombia. According to the Colombian Air Force, on Monday, the joint task force 'Hercules' launched the operation 'Exodo 2018', which involves the deployment of 2,000 armed and highly trained soldiers to tackle security threats in the restive Tumaco area. Three reconnaissance aircraft will be also deployed to assist in the operation. Tumaco was traditionally known as a stronghold of the Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia (FARC). Since the FARC demobilisation criminal groups are engaged in territorial disputes in the remote region. In October, President Juan Manuel Santos ordered the reinforcement of the military presence in Tumaco over rising security concerns linked to drug-trafficking activities.

Tourists advised to avoid San Andres and Providencia due to adverse weather

Colombia's Minister of Commerce, Maria Lorena Gutierrez, has recommended that tourists and residents on the isolated archipelago of San Andres and Providencia exercise caution due to adverse weather conditions. Gutierrez suggested to tourists to temporarily avoid the archipelago. She also urged visitors that are already in the archipelago to exercise extra caution as the rough weather is currently bringing strong winds, heavy rains and large waves. The Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (Ideam) has issued an alert for the region. According to the Ideam, the weather phenomenon affecting San Andres and Providencia are not directly linked to the so-called 'US Bomb Cyclone'. Weather conditions are expected to gradually improve from Saturday. San Andres and Providencia is a Colombian territory located off the Nicaraguan coast.

Protester killed amid strike action in Uraba, Antioquia

A protester has been killed when violent demonstrations erupted in the Uraba subregion in Antioquia, northern Colombia. Hundreds of protesters clashed with security forces on the streets of Currulao, located along the 62 national highway, where several streets were blocked overnight on Thursday. The incident comes amid strike action to protest against the introduction of a toll booth in the area, which union leaders fear will hinder local businesses and the agro-industry.

Seven killed in violent clashes in Bolivar, Cauca

At least seven people have been killed in two separate armed clashes in the rural area of Bolivar, Cauca department. In Trujillo, six people were killed when groups linked to drug-trafficking engaged in violent shooting. Among the victims is a peasant who was hit by a stray bullet. In Mazamorremo, clashes involving another drug-trafficking group and presumed members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) led to the death of a wanted criminal. Preliminary reports suggest that alias 'Bin Laden', a senior ELN commander, was also killed in the dispute. Police told El Pais that Trujillo, more specifically, is known for the presence of ELN militants.

Rancher kidnapped in San Vicente del Caguan, Caqueta

A local rancher was kidnapped when four assailants raided his home in Caqueta, southern Colombia. Samuel Estupinan Sanchez was abducted while spending the night with his family in the rural area of San Vicente del Caguan. An opposition senator from the neighbouring Huila department, Ernesto Macias Tovar, said on social media that among the suspects is a dissident member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Meanwhile, police officers are still investigating a potential link to a local criminal group.

ELN confirms intentions to extend ceasefire agreement

The National Liberation Army (ELN) announced on Friday that the group will continue to abide by the ceasefire deal with the government as its deadline approaches. ELN's commander, Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista, alias 'Gabino', has said via video that the move comes as the ELN seeks to find a political agreement with the Colombian government. The ceasefire is set to expire next week on 09 January but both parts have demonstrated the intention to extend it. In late December, President Juan Manuel Santos announced a reshuffle of the negotiation team after Juan Camilo Restrepo stepped down as the government's chief negotiator. Since the start of the ELN talks, security levels have significantly improved in areas held by the guerrilla forces, which are mainly located in northern Colombia.

Government and FARC to discuss peace deal developments

President Juan Manuel Santos is set to meet with the leadership of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) to assess potential developments in the peace deal with the rebranded former guerrilla group. As part of periodical meetings between the government and the FARC, both parties are scheduled to meet on Thursday in Cartagena, northern Colombia. On Tuesday, FARC's leader, Rodrigo Londono, acknowledged the role of the security services in assisting the implementation of the peace process. Despite significant progress, a number of challenges have erupted with the FARC demobilisation, especially linked to the power vacuum left in some jungle areas and grievances regarding the special tribunals.

Scores injured in grenade attack in Caucasia, Antioquia

At least 30 people have been injured in an explosion at a nightclub in Caucasia, Antioquia. Emergency services rushed to the Bora Bora disco at Pajonal Avenue after a grenade went off late on Thursday evening. Three people were in critical conditions and dozens were taken to the hospital. Police officers confirmed that a 23-year-old man and a woman were detained as investigations assess if they are linked to the outlawed Clan del Golfo group. Last week, local authorities issued a warning about a wave of criminality across western Medellin due to ongoing disputes between the Clan del Golfo and the Oficina de Envigado gang.

Authorities record wave of criminality amid disputes in Medellin, Antioquia

Colombian authorities have recorded a wave of criminality in Medellin as tensions between rival criminal groups increase. Reports suggest that nearly 50 people were already murdered in the city in December, the deadliest month in 2017. This week, a significant increase in homicide levels have been recorded compared with the same period in 2016. Local authorities believe that the spark in violence levels may be linked to the recent detention of Carlos Mesa Vallejo, alias 'Tom', a senior member of the Oficina de Envigado gang. Tensions remain particularly high around the western neighbourhoods of Belen and San Javier, which are currently controlled by the Clan del Golfo.

President Santos announces launching of Plan Orus

On Tuesday, President Juan Manuel Santos announced details of the Plan Orus, a widespread government-backed operation to patrol abandoned areas left by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). More than 63,000 soldiers will be deployed across 67 cities and nearly 600 villages that are currently facing spiralling levels of violence. Since the FARC demobilisation, paramilitary and insurgent groups have engaged in fierce battles to control former FARC territory. Plan Orus aims to station a military unit in every single village that has been recently targeted. A recent UN report revealed that more than 100 civil rights defenders have been killed in Colombia in 2017.

Two police officers killed in La Macarena, Meta

Two police officers have been killed while undertaking an operation to shut down night-time establishments in Meta, central Colombia. The incident happened overnight on Monday in the Playa Rica-Yari area in La Macarena. Both victims were part of a police detachment dedicated to implementing the peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Gustavo Bell nominated new government negotiator to ELN talks

President Juan Manuel Santos has nominated Gustavo Bell as the new government chief negotiator of the peace negotiations with the National Liberation Army (ELN). Bell, a former Colombian vice-president during the Pastrana administration, is the Colombian ambassador in Cuba. He is replacing Juan Camilo Restrepo who is set to step down from the peace process in early January for professional and personal reasons. Currently, the ELN and the government are engaged in a ceasefire deal set to last until 9 January. President Santos and the ELN already expressed their intentions to extend the ceasefire.

ELN announces intentions to extend ceasefire

On Sunday, the National Liberation Army (ELN) announced  its' intention to extend the ongoing ceasefire agreement with the Colombian government. In a statement released on Twitter, addressed to the UN mission chief, Jean Arnault, the group said that: “We are willing to agree on a new ceasefire once we have jointly evaluated at the negotiating table the progress, confidence and results of the current one.” The current agreement is set to expire on 09 January. Last week, President Juan Manuel Santos announced a reshuffle to the government negotiations team after his team's chief negotiator, Juan Camilo Restrepo, stepped down.

EPL launches wave of attacks in Catatumbo, Norte de Santander

The People's Liberation Army (EPL) has launched a wave of attacks over the weekend across the restive Catatumbo area in Norte de Santander. A nine-year-old boy was injured when members of the EPL launched a grenade attack at a police station in El Carmen. Moments later, three civilians were slightly wounded in another similar attack in Hacari. Further reports suggest that another incident occurred in Teorama. Police officers revealed that a vehicle loaded with nearly 100 kilos of explosives was found in a residential area in Ocana. The EPL, also referred as the 'Los Pelusos', has significantly expanded its presence across the Catatumbo area after the demobilisation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Two killed in fresh armed clashes in Narino

At least two people have been killed in fresh armed clashes in Narino department, south-western Colombia. Local authorities confirmed on Sunday that a confrontation broke out between members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and presumed dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The incident happened in the indigenous community of Mayasquer in Cumbal, located at the border with Ecuador. Further investigations were launched to assess the circumstances behind the incident. In late-November, more than a dozen people were reportedly killed in Narino during clashes between FARC dissidents and the ELN.

Congress seeks to launch bill to judge criminal groups

President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Thursday that the Colombian Congress is currently redacting a bill that seeks to speed up judicial proceedings against members of criminal structures. Santos's statement came just after the leader of the Clan del Golfo, Dairo Antonio Usuga, announced a unilateral ceasefire. President Santos said that despite encouraging the move, the government will still continue its ongoing crackdown against the group. Several months ago, the Clan del Golfo announced plans to surrender and engage in a dialogue, however, this was largely unaddressed by the government. Since the demobilisation of the FARC and the ceasefire with the ELN, the Clan del Golfo has launched violent campaigns to secure drug-trafficking and illegal mining territory nationwide.

Former paramilitary leader to be extradited to the US

President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Thursday that former paramilitary boss, Daniel Rendon Herrera, alias 'Don Mario', is set to be extradited to the US. President Santos announced the move during the launching of a government programme to eradicate coca crops in Antioquia. Don Mario was a member of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) - currently referred to as Clan del Golfo - and was demobilised amid a peace deal with the group back in 2006. Don Mario was not granted amnesty as he still continued to engage in criminal activities. In late-September, the Supreme Court authorised his extradition to the US, where he is accused of drug-trafficking.

Demobilised FARC militant killed in Ituango, Antioquia

A demobilised militant of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been shot dead in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Jairo Ortiz Betancur was killed on Wednesday afternoon in Ituango. Members of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force - FARC's political party - condemned the incident and called national and municipal authorities to protect former FARC members in the region. According to the FARC, four of its demobilised members have already been killed in Ituango in the last six months.

Clan del Golfo announces unilateral ceasefire

Colombia's most infamous criminal paramilitary group, the Clan del Golfo, has announced a unilateral ceasefire on Wednesday. The group's leader, Dairo Antonio Usuga, alias 'Otoniel', announced through a press release to cease military offensives nationwide. Further, Otoniel called groups such as the National Liberation Army (ELN), FARC dissidents and other criminal entities to do the same. The Clan del Golfo is believed to be comprised of nearly 2,000 members and is one of the most violent in Colombia. Since the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) fully demobilised the group has been engaged in deadly territorial disputes.

Authorities detain Medellin's most wanted drug lord

Colombia's ministry of defence confirmed on Saturday that Carlos Mesa Vallejo, alias 'Tom', has been captured in Antioquia, northern Colombia. Tom was captured during a birthday party in an affluent neighbourhood in El Penol. Authorities revealed that the so-called 'Operation Omega' came after intense intelligence work and tip-offs from the local population. Cash, luxurious vehicles and weapons were seized during the raid. Tom is known as one of the most infamous criminals in Medellin and the leader of the Oficina de Envigado, a criminal structured created by Pablo Escobar. President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed the detention and Tom's alliances with the Clan del Golfo group, the biggest criminal entity in Colombia.

Hundreds displaced due to armed clashes in Suarez, Cauca

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that more than 473 people have been displaced when armed clashes between unknown groups broke out in Suarez, Cauca. Communities from Cabana, Agua Bonita, Union Olivare, Los Robles and La Fonda Damian were heavily affected. Last week, at least six presumed dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were killed in violent clashes in the rural area of Suarez. Although thousands of FARC members demobilised as part of the peace process, hundreds of others are still active across several departments mainly in western Colombia.

Widespread floods affect thousands in Choco and Antioquia

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has informed that more than 30,000 people have been affected when heavy rainfall caused widespread floods in Choco and Antioquia departments, north-western Colombia. Adverse weather conditions battered the region last week and triggered the overflow of a number of local rivers. In Antioquia, the most affected areas were the municipalities of Vigia del Fuerte and Murindo, while in Choco department were the villages of Carmen del Darien, Bojaya, Medio Atrato and Riosucio.

Two men kidnapped in Ocana, Norte de Santander

A 70-year-old man and his son have been kidnapped after armed criminals intercepted their vehicle in Norte de Santander. According to the ombudsman, Carlos Negret, Jesus Bohorquez and his son were attacked on a road in Ocana. It remains unclear which group is behind the abduction. Ocana is located in the restive Catatumbo region, where groups such as the People's Liberation Army (EPL) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) widely operate alongside paramilitary and other criminal entities.

Armed criminals set bus on fire in Cauca

A passenger bus has been set ablaze after armed criminals ambushed the vehicle in the Cauca department, western Colombia. The incident happened between the towns of Caloto and Corinto on Monday evening. It remains unclear what circumstances are behind the incident. No injuries were reported as the assailants ordered the passengers to step down from the vehicle before setting it on fire. Local media reported that it may be linked to extortion, while further investigations are assessing potential links to criminal or guerilla groups.

FARC political party submit list of Congressional candidates

Members of the new-born Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) have submitted their list of officials to run for Congress ahead of the country's 2018 general elections. Among the party's Senate nominees are Ivan Marquez, Carlos Antonio Lozada, Griselda Lobo, Victoria Sandino and Benkos Bioho. Further, the list is comprised of more than 20 members who will compete for further seats. As part of the peace agreement between the government and the former guerrilla group, the FARC will be granted five seats in both houses of Congress for the next two terms. All members still have to pass through the approval of the special peace tribunals, which were recently approved to judge crimes during Colombia's long-standing conflict.

Several killed as rival FARC dissidents clash in Suarez, Cauca

At least six dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been killed in fresh armed clashes in Cauca department, south-western Colombia. According to the Army, the confrontation broke out in the rural area of Suarez. It is believed that the incident involved two dissident FARC factions that are currently disputing drug-trafficking territory in Cauca. Although thousands of FARC members demobilised as part of the peace process, hundreds of others are still active across several departments mainly in western Colombia.

Government chief negotiator to step down from ELN peace talks

The government's negotiation team with the National Liberation Army (ELN) is set to face a major reshuffle after its chief negotiator, Juan Camilo Restrepo, announced plans to step down. Restrepo met with President Juan Manuel Santos to confirm that he remains as the government's head negotiator until 08 January, the last day before the current cease-fire deadline. Restrepo said in a press conference that the ELN ceasefire has the potential to be extended as significant progress has been made. He announced that he is leaving the team due to professional and personal reasons. President Santos said that a new team will be assembled and refused to acknowledge that the peace process is currently facing a crisis after three other negotiators - including Rt Gen Eduardo Herera Verbel - also handed in their resignations. 

Army rescues rancher kidnapped in Salgar, Antioquia

Colombia's Army launched a joint-operation where a 37-year-old abducted rancher was rescued in Antioquia, northern Colombia. Dozens of soldiers and police officers took part in the operation to rescue Wilmar Merino Londono, who was kidnapped last Tuesday at his farm in Salgar. Reports suggest that criminals demanded a ransom of 150m Colombian pesos ($50k) for his release. Three suspects were detained during the operation that took place in the town's rural area.

Three civil servants kidnapped near Almanguer, Cauca

Three civil servants have been reportedly kidnapped in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Reports revealed that all victims work for the local government of Almanguer. They were abducted on Thursday evening when driving along the road between Almanguer and Bolivar. The police and the Army launched a massive operation to locate the workers. The incident came days after a 10-year-old was kidnapped in the rural area of Cajibio.

Criminals kidnap 10-year-old boy in Cajibio, Cauca

A 10-year-old boy has been kidnapped along with three adults in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Local media reported that the incident happened last week on Thursday when the family was arriving at their farm in the rural area of Cajibio. Reports revealed that the adults were released moments later in a wooded area, but the whereabouts of the child and the criminals remain unknown. No ransom demands were issued and the police and the Army's anti-kidnapping unit, Gaula, are still investigating the incident.

Olympian weightlifter shot dead at bar in Palmira, Cauca Valley

A 32-year-old professional weightlifter has been shot dead in Palmira, Cauca Valley. Local media reported that Edwin Mosquera Roa was shot twice on Saturday evening at a bar in Palmeras de Marselha neighbourhood. Police are investigating if Mosquera Roa was killed after an alleged altercation with another individual. The victim was one of the most prominent athletes in Colombia and had competed in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Several miners killed in gas explosion in Corrales, Boyaca

At least six workers have been killed after an explosion at a coal mine in Boyaca, northern Colombia. The incident happened on Tuesday morning when a powerful blast struck the La Fortuna mine located in the rural area of Corrales. Preliminary reports suggest that the explosion occurred due to the accumulation of gases. Three miners are still trapped as rescue operations are limited due to hazardous gases dangerous to the emergency services. Mining accidents in Colombia are common and usually occur because of a lack of health and safety regulations.

Police capture one of the leaders of the Clan del Golfo

On 3 December, the Intelligence Branch of the Antioquia police captured Wbeimar Arbey Gutierrez, otherwise known as "Don Carlos" or "Politico", who is one of the leaders of the Clan del Golfo.  According to police, "Don Carlos" began his criminal career in 2003, and spent five years working under Jairo de Jesus Durango, alias "Guagua", until he became a trusted member of the group.  In 2014 he became the first leader of the northwestern front, and was in charge of propaganda, tasked with gaining acceptance by the civilian population and thereby hindering police actions.

Several killed in bus crash near Planeta Rica, Cordoba

At least five people have been killed and 16 others were injured when a bus crashed in Cordoba, north-western Colombia. Police confirmed that the accident happened between the villages of Pueblo Nuevo and Planeta Rica in the early hours of Sunday. The bus, operated by Expresso Brasilia, crashed during a journey between Cartagena and Medellin. Reports revealed that among the fatalities is a five-year-old girl, while five foreign nationals are among the injured. Preliminary investigations suggest that the crash happened due to a mechanical failure. This is the first deadly crash to occur during the start of the holidays season, where road crashes are very common mainly due to reckless driving and fatigue.

Red alert issued due to flood risks in Magdalena and Antioquia

Colombia's Meteorology and Environmental Studies Institute (IDEAM) has issued a red alert over potential floods in Magdalena and Antioquia departments, north-western Colombia. In Magdalena, authorities urged caution in Puerto Berrio and Puerto Nare due to rising levels of the Magdalena River and its tributaries. In Antioquia, floods may affect the El Banco area. The warning remains active until Saturday, as heavy rainfall persists in the region.

Police investigate deadly clashes between ELN and FARC in Narino

Colombian police launched an investigation to assess the circumstances behind a presumed armed confrontation between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in Narino, south-western Colombia. The incident reportedly broke out on Monday afternoon when ELN militants targeted members of the FARC dissident front known as the Gente del Nuevo Orden. The attack occurred in the isolated area of Pueblo Nuevo in Magui Payan. Unconfirmed reports suggest that at least 13 people were killed and eight others remain missing. FARC dissidents are currently engaged in violent territorial disputes with the ELN and paramilitary entities since the group fully demobilised and became a political party.

Social leader shot dead in Belen de Bajira, Choco

A fresh incident of violence targeting social leaders and human rights advocates has been reported in Choco department, north-western Colombia. Mario Castano Bravo was killed on Sunday evening when heavily armed assailants stormed his residence in Belen de Bajira. Local media reported that Bravo was shot at least seven times. Castano Bravo was a social leader linked to the land rights group Conpaz and also to a local community council. He has been one of the voices behind complaints about the increasing paramilitary presence in the area, especially the paramilitary Clan del Golfo group. Further, Castano Bravo was engaged in long-standing grievances with large landowners and prominent businessmen regarding land rights.

Four killed in violent shooting in Acacias, Meta

Four people have been killed and two others injured when shooting broke out in Acacias, Meta department. El Espectador reported that the incident happened on Monday evening between the San Cristobal and Mancera neighbourhoods. Police revealed that several people were indiscriminately attacked when two armed criminals opened fire. Preliminary reports suggest that the crime may be linked to disputes between two local drug-trafficking groups.

Navy rescues kidnapped salesman in Buenaventura

The Navy's anti-kidnap unit, Gaula, has rescued a 55-year-old local salesman who was kidnapped in Buenaventura, south-western Colombia. Local media reported that the victim was abducted on Thursday in La Independencia neighbourhood. According to a statement, one kidnapper was detained while the other fled the scene. It is believed that both are members of a local criminal group dedicated to extortion and kidnapping. Buenaventura is an isolated port city in the Cauca Valley, where criminal and paramilitary groups widely operate.

Lower house approves special peace tribunals

Lawmakers of the lower house of Congress have widely approved the controversial special tribunals to try members of the military and former guerrillas accused of involvement in Colombia's long-standing conflict. After a lengthy 12-hour session on Monday, members of the House of Representatives approved the remaining 98 articles - from a total of 163 - within the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP). Among the main points discussed were the political participation of FARC militants; the exclusion of sexual crimes against minors; and the participation of certain magistrates that took part in the initial peace negotiations in Havana, Cuba. The bill now heads to the Senate and the Constitutional Court before being sanctioned by the President.

Hundreds evacuated due to armed clashes in Cordoba

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Friday that more than 190 indigenous families were forcibly displaced as violence escalated in Cordoba, northern Colombia. According to OCHA, more than 536 Embera Katio people across two indigenous communities were evacuated due to armed clashes between the Colombian Army and the outlawed Clan del Golfo group. Violence erupted around the Paramillo Natural National Park in Tierralta, especially across communities located along the Esmeralda river. Colombian authorities have warned of the increasing presence of the Clan del Golfo in the area.

Local rancher kidnapped in Altamira, Huila

A 67-year-old rancher has been reportedly kidnapped alongside his wife in Huila, south-western Colombia. Local media identified the victim as Helmo Borrero Ceballos, a prominent local rancher. He and his wife were abducted on Monday morning when armed criminals ambushed his vehicle in Altamira. The wife was later released, while police continue to investigate the rancher's whereabouts.

Clan del Golfo senior commander killed in Norte de Santander

A police special operations unit has killed a senior member of the infamous Clan de Golfo gang in Norte de Santander. Luis Orlando Pena, alias 'Inglaterra', was shot dead when police officers raided an affluent condominium in the rural area of Chinacota. Inglaterra was known to be the second in command of the organisation. He was considered the group's chief of security and one of the most wanted men in Colombia. President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed the outcome of the operation, which also captured three other criminals. The Colombian government has launched the operation 'Agamemnon 2' to specifically target Clan del Golfo's militants in western and northern Colombia.

President Santos announces crackdown against FARC dissidents

On Thursday, President Juan Manuel Santos announced a crackdown on dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In an international press conference, Santos said that the Colombian armed forces will employ a 'total offensive' against militants that refused to abide by the peace agreement and continue to engage in criminal activity. President Santos had previously allowed the deployment of an airstrike against former FARC strongholds in deep jungle areas. Despite more than 11,000 members being demobilised and around 8,000 weapons decommissioned, it is estimated that up to 1,000 FARC dissidents are still active across Colombia.

Amnesty International raises security concerns despite FARC deal

Amnesty International said on Wednesday that despite the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia (FARC) the Colombian armed conflict persists. The NGO's secretary-general, Salil Shetty, said that millions of people are still suffering from the remnants of the long-standing conflict. Cases of violence have been attributed to ongoing territorial disputes between paramilitary and criminal groups to secure former FARC strongholds. Weeks ago, the UN highlighted security concerns in Cauca, Catatumbo and Buenaventura despite a recently brokered ceasefire deal with the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Chancellor says that Venezuelan crisis deeply affects Colombia

Colombia's Chancellor Maria Angela Holguin told journalists in Washington DC that the current economic and political crisis in Venezuela is heavily impacting Colombia. Holguin highlighted the high number of Venezuelans crossing the borders daily, which according to reports reach up to 3,600 arrivals. She said that the relocation of funds to assist the wave of migrants arriving into Colombia is largely compromising efforts amid the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Security concerns have been drawn on both sides of the border, especially in Norte de Santander, which has recently recorded a surge of violence due to the presence of armed criminal groups.

Warning issued over landslides and floods across Bogota

Emergency services have issued a warning for the increased risk of landslides and floodings across Bogota amid the Colombian rainy season. Flood risks have been issued across the north-western neighbourhoods of Bosa, Kennedy and Engavita. Meanwhile, the mountainous areas of Bogota's Ciudad Bolivar, Usme and Usaquen neighbourhoods are especially prone to landslides. The Civil Defense authority revealed that there is special concern for Santa Fe, Ciudad Bolivar and San Cristobal, while areas in Suba, Chapinero and La Candelaria may be affected. Regional authorities in Cundinamarca are also on alert due to floods triggered by rising levels of local rivers. It has been recommended to avoid travelling at night or hiking around mountainous areas in the capital. It is advised to remain vigilant in areas surrounding rivers and bodies of water.

Several missing as two vessels sink at the Orinoco River

Joint search operations have been launched as 10 people remain missing after two boats sank at the infamous Orinoco River. Local media reported that 18 people were on board two vessels that crashed overnight on Tuesday along the Venezuelan-Colombian border. Colombia's Navy Colonel Andres Vega said that one of the vessels hit a rock while travelling from the port of Lucera to Puerto Carreno. Most victims are Colombian and Venezuelan nationals. Diego Zarate, a government official in Colombia's Vichada department, said that both vessels were sailing illegally as navigation at the Orinoco is widely forbidden during the night due to rough water conditions.

Foreign ministry accuses Venezuela of military incursions in Tibu

Diplomatic tensions with Venezuela escalated further on Tuesday when the government sent a letter to the Venezuelan foreign ministry condemning alleged military incursions into Colombian territory. Colombia's Foreign Ministry has said that Venezuelan troops and military helicopters have crossed the border in Tibu, Norte de Santander, on 15 and 16 November. In August, a similar incident happened in the northern town of La Guajira, where the Colombian government accused Venezuelan troops of raiding villages in the area.

President Santos to meet FARC leader over special tribunals row

President Juan Manuel Santos is set to meet with the leader of the recently rebranded Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) Rodrigo 'Timochenko' Londono to discuss grievances amid the peace process. Santos said on Twitter that he is willing to meet with the FARC leader on Friday. Timochenko has recently issued a public letter against a new law by the Constitutional Court which allows businesses and politicians to appear on a voluntary basis before special war tribunals. The proposed amendment was put forward by the right-wing Radical Change party, led by former VP German Vargas. Thousands of FARC rebels, businesses and high-ranking officials are being accused of involvement in the violent 50-year-long conflict.

Bus drives off a cliff and kills 14 in Sabanalarga, Antioquia

At least 14 people have been killed and 38 others injured when a bus drove off a cliff in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. The accident happened on Sunday morning along a local road between El Tambo and El Oro in Sabanalarga. Reports suggest that the vehicle lost control after avoiding a motorcycle. Rescue efforts have been hindered as the vehicle crashed at an area of difficult access. Despite a high number of casualties, bus crashes on national and regional roads in Colombia do not occur very frequently.

Police detain notorious drug-trafficking leader in Bogota

A notorious drug-trafficking leader has been detained after a police operation in Bogota. Carlos Julio Sierra Varela, alias 'Avestruz', was arrested at his apartment in the affluent Modelia neighbourhood. Avestruz is believed to be behind dozens of assassinations along with crimes linked to extortion and kidnapping across Cali. He is known as the most powerful criminal in the Cauca Valley area, while he is suspected to be linked to transnational drug-trafficking organisations such as the Clan del Golfo and influential Mexican cartels.

UNHCR concerned over local leaders' murders in the Pacific Coast

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has raised concerns over the increasing murders of local leaders along the Colombian Pacific Coast. In a press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, UNHCR's spokesman William Spindler highlighted serious security challenges posed especially against afro-Colombian communities. While hundreds of social leaders were forcibly displaced - mainly in Barbacoas and Tumaco, Narino department - it is estimated that 78 local leaders were confirmed to have been killed in 2017. Armed groups have recently expanded their illegal operations after the demobilisation of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Hundreds of families displaced over ELN threats in Choco

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) revealed that around 250 families across 18 indigenous communities remain affected in a further displacement wave in Choco, north-western Colombia. In an update released on Wednesday, OCHA reported that most cases have been reported in areas along the Dubasa river in Alto Baudo. According to the same report, local indigenous communities are being systematically threatened by the National Liberation Army (ELN) following the death of a local indigenous governor in Docasina. This is the third mass displacement recorded in Alto Baudo since the start of the year.

Police to investigate crimes against indigenous tribes in Narino

Police in Narino department, south-western Colombia, has launched a commision to investigate alleged crimes against local indigenous communities in Tumaco. Members of the local Awa tribe said that dozens of families were already forcibly displaced due to rising levels of violence, while it remains unclear what are the exact circumstances behind the incidents. It is believed that dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are behind the attack due to ongoing territorial disputes to secure key drug-trafficking routes and coca plantations.

Senate approves special peace tribunals

Senators have approved plans to proceed with the special justice tribunals dictated in the peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). After hours of debate, senators gave the green light to key legislative pieces that are claimed to be essential to the success of the peace agreement. The so-called Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) passed a Senate vote after the constitutional court unanimously approved the bill. Among many points, the JEP allows the participation of former FARC members in Colombian politics and the introduction of alternative sentences to demobilised guerrillas. The bill is set to be further discussed next week in the lower house of Congress.

State of emergency declared over floods in Magdalena

A state of emergency has been declared in four municipalities in Magdalena as heavy rainfall battered northern Colombia overnight on Tuesday. Hundreds of families were heavily affected across Cienaga, Aracataca, Fundacion and Pueblo Viejo when local rivers burst their banks and triggered widespread flooding. Local authorities said that the move comes in order to allow the enforcement of quick and adequate preventive measures to avoid further damage. The emergency services warned visitors and residents to remain alert for the rising levels of local rivers in Magdalena, Bolivar and Atlantico departments.

Former FARC militant shot dead in Ituango, Antioquia

A demobilised member of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been shot dead in a presumedly targeted attack in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. El Espectador reported that Delaider de Jesus Vasquez was killed when armed criminals opened fire on his vehicle in Ituango on Sunday morning. Four people who were travelling with the victim were injured. FARC has recently demobilised and launched its own political party. Colombia's government has been pressured to address the systematic murders of former FARC guerrillas, which has been largely addressed and may compromise the current peace agreement.

Avianca pilots to lift 50-day strike action

Pilots of the Colombian-based airline Avianca have lifted their 50-day strike action after an agreement was reached between the influential ACDAC syndicate and the Colombian ombudsman's office. Thousands of passengers were heavily affected after more than 3,000 flights were cancelled since mid-September. Demonstrators demanded better payments for local pilots and the reduction of their working hours. Flights and operations are expected to be gradually restored from next Monday.

UN highlights security concerns despite ELN ceasefire

The UN Mission in Colombia has highlighted five areas nationwide that continue to face serious security challenges despite the ongoing ceasefire deal with the National Liberation Army (ELN). The UN revealed at a conference that Choco department remains of special concern after a local indigenous leader was killed by the ELN back in late-October. It also stressed a recent incident where seven rural workers were killed by dissident FARC militants in Tumaco. Other areas include northern Cauca, the Catatumbo region and the port city of Buenaventura. The Organisation of American States (OAS) has also raised concerns for a reportedly ELN expansion to former FARC strongholds.

FARC to be removed from EU terrorist organisations list

EU foreign ministers are set to ratify the decision to remove the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) from its list of terrorist organisations. The decision is set to be discussed further on Monday before the European Council in Brussels, Belgium. The FARC was first introduced at the list back in September 2001 and has recently been suspended in 2016 amid the peace negotiations with the Colombian government. In September this year, the FARC formally launched its new political party ahead of the 2018 presidential elections.

Joint operation leads to massive drug bust in Antioquia

A joint operation led to the seizure of more than 12 tonnes of cocaine in Antioquia, northern Colombia. The drug bust came as part of the rebranded operation Agamenon II, which has been systematically targeting the notorious Clan del Golfo group. President Juan Manuel Santos said that this is the biggest drugs seizure in a single operation in Colombian history. The drugs - believed to be worth around $360m - were found across four banana plantations between Carepa and Chigorodo. Police revealed that the drugs were ready to be exported to the US and Europe from the Uraba region. Clan del Golfo had recently suffered significant losses since a government crackdown to its operations in an attempt to capture its leader alias 'Otoniel'.

ELN claims that current ceasefire deal is at risk

The National Liberation Army (ELN) warned on Tuesday that the current ceasefire agreement with the Colombian government is at risk due to alleged military operations targeting the guerrilla group. ELN's chief negotiator, Pablo Beltran, told AFP that a preliminary assessment in the first month of truce reported a "poor balance". Beltran accused the government of not fulfilling its obligations of improving humanitarian efforts and of promoting the conflict's de-escalation. The temporary ceasefire deal was signed in early-October and is set to finish in January 2018.

Several missing due to widespread floods in Corinto, Cauca

At least four people were killed and 18 others were reported missing when the La Paila river in Cauca department burst its banks on Tuesday evening. Flood waters coupled with mud, fallen trees and debris affected dozens of families in the town of Corinto, more specifically in the neighbourhoods of La Colombiana, La Playa and Esmeralda. Evacuations were also reported in the neighbouring villages of Pedregal, Carrizales and El Tablon. President Juan Manuel Santos sent reinforcements to the area to assess for further damage and potential victims.

Ombudsman warns for new criminal group operating in Buenaventura

The Ombudsman's Office in Colombia has revealed on Tuesday that a new criminal organisation currently operates in Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca. Ombudsman Carlos Alfonso Negret Mosquera alerted civil and military bodies over the arrival of the group known as the 'La Gente del Orden'. The group was based in Tumaco, Narino department, and has recently expanded its operations to Buenaventura. It is believed that the group is comprised of around 200 members dedicated to extortion, forced displacement and recruitment. Mosquera said that the group is known to be operating around the eastern and south-western areas of the city. Since the FARC demobilisation, criminal entities such as the ELN and the Clan del Golfo widely operate across the Valle del Cauca.

Explosive device kills soldier in Tumaco, Narino

A Colombian soldier has been killed and another was injured when an explosive device went off in Narino, south-western Colombia. The Colombian Army revealed that the incident happened on Monday morning during an operation to eradicate illicit crops in the restive town of Tumaco. Preliminary investigations suggest that the device was planted nearly a week ago by a local criminal organisation. In October, President Juan Manuel Santos ordered the reinforcement of the military presence in Tumaco over rising security concerns linked to drug-trafficking activities.

UN pressure lawmakers to approve key peace deal laws

The UN has pressured Colombia's Senate and the House of Representatives to approve pieces of legislation that are key to the peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The Office in Colombia of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights revealed that: "(...) the approval of the statutory bill of the JEP, by the Congress of the Republic, is fundamental for the effective compliance with international obligations regarding human rights". Further, the UN body said that failing to ratify the deal may incur serious consequences and violations to international law. Colombian lawmakers are reluctant to approve the final arrangements of the peace deal as general elections are scheduled for 2018. The JEP seeks to prosecute military officials, former politicians, FARC members and civilians linked to war crimes during Colombia's long-lasting conflict.

Thousands affected as heavy downpour hit Timbiqui, Cauca

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced on Saturday that more than 5,000 people have been affected after a downpour hit south-western Colombia. OCHA said that over 1,000 families were widely affected when three local rivers - Timbiqui, Saija and Bubuye - overflowed in Cauca department last week. Local authorities in Timbiqui declared a state of emergency for the area as floods damaged dozens of buildings and destroyed a considerable amount of crops. Last week, heavy rainfall hit most departments in northern and south-western Colombia. The Cauca region usually experiences its rainy season between October and May.

Indigenous families displaced over ELN threats in Choco

More than 300 families were forced to displace after a local indigenous leader was killed in Choco, north-western Colombia. According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), members of nine indigenous communities were forced to leave areas around Alto Baudo due to successive threats issued by the National Liberation Army (ELN). Last week, the ELN claimed responsibility for the death of an indigenous leader for his alleged links to the military. This is the first ceasefire violation reported since the ELN and the government engaged in a ceasefire agreement in September.

Indigenous community frees police officers taken hostage in Risaralda

Hundreds of members of a local indigenous community held 17 police officers hostage amid an ongoing social feud in Risaralda, western Colombia. The incident happened on Wednesday when police officers were patrolling a social action in Pueblo Rico. All weapons - which included pistols and high-calibre rifles - and police motorcycles were seized by more than 500 people. On Friday, all hostages were released along with their respective equipment after the district attorney and humanitarian organisations headed to the scene. The move came as indigenous communities across Colombia demand the government fulfil their obligations over promises stated on the FARC peace deal.

Government launch UN-backed deal to tackle illicit crops

The Colombian government and the UN have signed an historic agreement aimed to tackle illicit crops in Colombia. The accord aims to support the recently brokered peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). It seeks to relocate €270m to assist farmers to replace coca plantations with alternative crops, such as cocoa and coffee. The move comes as the government plans to reduce 100,000 hectares of coca plantation next year. Currently, social tensions remain high across Colombia over government efforts to tackle illicit crops. Tensions are further exacerbated by the presence of paramilitary and drug-trafficking groups that pressure farmers to resist the implementation of such policies.

UN warns over military approach to social protests in Catatumbo

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia has warned the government over the use of the military to tackle the escalating wave of demonstrations currently reported nationwide. In a video released on Twitter, the organisation reinforced that the deployment of the military against civilians is expressly prohibited by international law. In the video, monitors show tanks and soldiers that are present in the Catatumbo region, Norte de Santander. Security tensions in Catatumbo are currently high due to the presence of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and other paramilitary groups. Both entities are believed to be pressuring farmers to continue with the cultivation of coca despite government efforts to replace it with legitimate crops.

FARC leader launches 2018 presidential bid

The leader of the recently rebranded Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) has launched his presidential bid ahead of the 2018 elections. Rodrigo 'Timochenko' Londono announced his candidacy on Wednesday and also confirmed that the exiled social activist Imelda Daza is his running mate - Daza spent more than 20 years in exile in Sweden. Londono's victory is highly unlikely as a significant portion of the Colombian population remains sceptical about the real intentions of the demobilised former guerrillas. However, as part of the peace agreement - which was initially refused in a referendum -  with the Colombian government, the FARC will be granted five seats in each house of Senate for two electoral cycles. 

Social leader shot dead in Briceno, Antioquia

A local social leader has been killed in a renewed incident targeting social and civil organisations in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Ramon Garcia Zapata was killed on Friday afternoon on the road between Alto de Chiri and San Andres Cerquia. Garcia was one of the main advocates of efforts linked to the voluntary substitution of illicit crops in Briceno. Criminal and paramilitary entities have successively threatened social leaders and other members of the community who are willing to abide by new government policies aimed to eradicate coca plantations nationwide.

Government allows use of airstrikes to target dissident groups

Colombia's Ministry of Defense has announced on Tuesday that the Armed Forces are now authorised to carry out airstrikes to target criminal gangs and dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). According to a communique, all branches of the armed forces will be allowed to undertake airstrikes in isolated areas without civilian presence, while officials will be judicially shielded from potential prosecution. It is believed that around 800 FARC dissident members remain active in Colombia. Previous counter-insurgency strategies in the country widely employed air support to attack FARC strongholds in hardly accessible jungle areas.

Authorities foil kidnap attempt near Cali

Police officers and members of the armed forces took part in an operation to rescue a Spanish-Colombian national who was kidnapped in the outskirts of Cali, western Colombia. The incident happened on Monday morning when armed criminals ambushed the 54-year-old businessman in Tienda Nova, a rural area in Palmira. Authorities told El Pais that a witness warned the police about the kidnap. The victim was shot when fierce shooting broke out after security forces surrounded the assailants. Three criminals were detained, while authorities are investigating if they are independent or linked to a criminal organisation.

Thousands affected as heavy rains hit northern Colombia

More than 10,000 people have been affected after heavy rainfall hit northern and central Colombia. Most incidents were reported in the departments of Magdalena and Tolima, where widespread flooding hit the coastal cities of Fundacion, Aracataca, El Reten, Zona Bananera and Algarrobo. Meanwhile, the overflow of local rivers also affected the central areas of Ibague, Honda and Chaparral. In Libano, heavy rains triggered landslides across Marengo, San Jorge and Plata areas. Colombia's Andean region often experience heavy rains and severe weather conditions between October and November.

ELN militants kill indigenous leader in Choco

Members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) claimed responsibility for the death of a regional indigenous leader who was killed last week in Choco, north-western Colombia. In a statement released on Sunday, ELN militants said that Aulio Isarama was held for questioning by the guerrilla over his alleged links to Colombian military intelligence agencies. Isarama was reportedly killed when he attacked one of the assailants. According to El Pais, five men wearing ELN outfits ambushed him while he was working in Alto Baudo. The ELN and the government are currently engaged in a ceasefire deal, which led to a significant reduction of militant attacks across ELN strongholds, mainly located in northern Colombia.

Hundreds of dissident FARC militants are believed to be still active

A Colombian public defender has announced that the number of dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is believed to be higher than previously expected. Carlos Alfonso Negret said that around 800 militants are expected to be still active. Further, security sources told Reuters that the number is expected to be even higher and to be widely spread across 23 fronts mostly linked to paramilitary drug-trafficking groups and illegal mining activities. Dissident FARC members continue active mainly in departments across south-western Colombia.

Social groups and rural communities stage nationwide protests

Social groups and rural communities across several Colombian departments launched a wave of protests on Monday to demand government action over crippling levels of poverty and violence. Demonstrators gathered around Cauca, Narino, Putumayo, Meta, Guaviare, Arauca, Antioquia and Norte de Santander to request rural reforms and investment projects long-promised in the wake of the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Among the groups involved were rural workers, afro-Colombians and indigenous ethnic leaders. Further, farmers also rejected the government's policy on forced coca crops eradication, which already fueled tensions between local communities and security forces. Protests are likely to spread across other rural areas of the country.

Foreign Minister to meet ELN rebels amid peace talks

Colombia's Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin is set to meet with representatives of the National Liberation Army (ELN) in preliminary talks with the group on Tuesday in Montecristi, Ecuador. Ecuadorian diplomats told EFE that the meeting will also include leaders of the demobilised Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which will assume its political face as the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force. In September, the government and the ELN engaged in a ceasefire agreement as part of the third phase of the peace negotiations.

Government extends deadline to dismantle FARC hideouts

Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas has announced on Tuesday that the process to extract weapons and explosives from former hideouts of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) will be extended for six months. Villegas said that 277 FARC strongholds nationwide are still to be fully verified within three phases. As the original UN Mission to Colombia came to an end, joint efforts will be carried out by the National Police, the armed forces and the Peace Fund. The FARC disarmament process was concluded in late-September after the guerrilla's entire arsenal was decommissioned. It has been declared that the FARC held, in total, 972 hideouts across Colombia.

Taxi drivers to launch indefinite strike in Bogota

Taxi drivers' associations and syndicates have called for indefinite strike action to protest against operations of app-based transportation services such as Cabify and Uber. Protesters have called for roadblocks across a dozen areas across Bogota - including Engavita, Suba, Fontibon, Modelia, Chicala and Techo - to demand strong government action against those companies. Demonstrations have also been called in Cali, especially in the areas of Yumbo, Palmira Candelaria and Jamundi. Protests against app-based transport services are common across Latin America, where taxi drivers claim that such companies illegally operate across major urban centres.

Soldier killed in clashes with FARC dissidents in Jamundi

A soldier has been killed and another was injured when fierce clashes broke out in the rural area of Jamundi, south-western Colombia. Reports revealed that the incident happened on Sunday amid an operation to dismantle drug-trafficking groups that operate across the Valle del Cauca region. It is believed that dissident members of the demobilised Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are behind the attack. The incident happened hours after four soldiers were slightly injured when a roadside bomb went off near Jamundi's La Liberia area. FARC dissident fronts continue to operate across Colombia despite the recently brokered peace deal. It is estimated that hundreds of militants are still active mainly in Guaviare, Guainia, Vichada and Narino.

Military reinforcements to be sent to Narino coca region

On 19 October, President Juan Manuel Santos issued an order to create a joint task force, including the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Police. He stated that due to the ongoing peace process, problems are emerging in the Narino area which borders Ecuador, and these problems will be best tackled by military reinforcements to combat drug trafficking.  Santos added at a press conference "The State has been almost totally absent from this area for many years".  With 203,000 inhabitants, Tumaco is one of the most popular routes for exporting drugs through the Pacific and on to the United States, and there are up to 12 criminal gangs disputing territory there. Colombia is the biggest producer and exporter of cocaine in the world.

Six FARC ex-guerrillas killed in Narino

On Sunday, six members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were shot by armed men in a jungle area in the south-east of Colombia.  These are the first deaths since the guerrilla group gave up arms to become a political party.  The area is a strategic region for the cultivation of coca leaves and the trafficking of cocaine where criminal gangs, the National Liberation Army (ELN) and FARC dissidents wage territorial disputes.  According to the recent peace agreement, the new FARC party are guaranteed 10 seats in Congress until 2026.

Shopkeeper killed in Cartagena

A shopkeeper was leaving his home at 06:45 on 18 October when two men appeared and fired five shots at him.  The victim, who has been identified as Martin Fidel Polanco Romero, was killed instantly.  He was not known to have any enemies.  The gun was recovered a short distance from the property, but the assailants have not been identified. The Cartagena Metropolitan Police are investigating.

Military helicopter crashes in north-east

Colombian authorities have announced that at least 10 people have been injured when a military helicopter crashed near Copacabana, a rural zone in the north-east of Colombia.  Security forces said that the helicopter was travelling from Bello in the Antioquia department to Tolemaida in the interior of the country.  The injured were transferred to various hospitals in the area.  The cause of the crash is unknown and will be investigated by the authorities.

Social leader killed in Tumaco

On 17 October it was reported that Jose Jair Cortes, a social leader working with the community government board, had been murdered in Tumaco, Narino.  The government of Narino demanded that the authorities investigate immediately particularly as Cortes was one of seven community leaders who had recently received death threats.  It was the community government board who raised the humanitarian emergency of afro-Columbians, mestizos and indigenous peoples and their treatment at the hands of armed gangs living in the rural area of Tumaco.  The region is the largest producer of coca in Colombia and is frequently the location of territorial conflicts between guerillas, drug traffickers and other criminal organisations.

Avianca pilots continue to strike

On 16 October, Avianca pilots rejected the company's ultimatum to return to their normal activities or face sanctions. Captain Jaime Hernandez, President of the Colombian Association of Civil Aviators (ACDAC), stated that the pilots will not be intimidated by Avianca. In the first 20 days of the strike, 344,000 passengers were affected due to the cancellation of over 5,440 flights. Avianca has declared that the airline is an essential service and that the strike is therefore illegal, which ACDAC dispute and the matter is now in the hands of the Supreme Court of Justice.

FARC peace deal to remain untouched for the next 12 years

 On Wednesday,Colombia's Constitutional Court has ruled that the peace agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) should remain unchanged for the next 12 years. According to the rule, the country's next three administrations are forbidden to implement changes to the current peace deal, which was signed under President Juan Manuel Santos's government. Among many concerns was fierce resistance from the right-wing Centro Democratico, which widely opposed the agreement. The Court also urged lawmakers and officials to maintain consistency to both the application and the legal interpretation of the deal. Colombia's high-commissioner for peace, Rodrigo Rivera, said that the rule has been implemented in order to ensure the deal's judicial guarantees to former FARC militants.

Venezuelan authorities discover common grave near Colombian border

Venezuelan authorities have discovered a clandestine common grave near the border town of San Antonio de Tachira, north-western Venezuela. According to local media, an undisclosed number of bodies were found on Monday along the Tachira River in La Parada, close to the Simon Bolivar International Bridge - which leads to the Colombian city of Cucuta. Concerns have been raised over drug-trafficking and smuggling operations near the bridge, where nearly a dozen shootings took place since the start of the year. Border security between Colombia and Venezuela have been largely compromised mainly due to ongoing diplomatic tensions between both governments.

Guests held hostage as criminals storm hotel in Bogota

More than 30 criminals stormed a hotel in central Bogota and held dozens of its guests hostage. Local media reported on Tuesday that criminals wearing police uniforms took over the hotel in La Favorita neighbourhood, where fierce shooting broke out as residents had advised the authorities. One criminal was killed and 25 others were detained when special operations officers were deployed to the area. It has been reported that the assailants were part of a local criminal group that is currently attempting to regain drug-trafficking territory in La Favorita.

FARC registers party for Colombia's 2018 election

Leaders of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) have registered within the National Electoral Council (CNE) to take part in the 2018 election. In a press conference, Jairo Estrada, a member of the political movement Voces de Paz, said: "We made delivery of all the documentation, including the certification by the Monitoring Mechanism and the United Nations of the laying down of arms and the other documents required in the legislation." The former guerrilla movement has been fully demobilised as part of a peace deal with the government, which granted the party five seats in both houses of Congress for two terms.

Indigenous radio broadcaster killed in Cauca land eviction

An indigenous radio broadcaster has been killed during a police land eviction in Cauca, western Colombia. Clashes broke out when riot police attempted to evict hundreds of indigenous demonstrators who attempted to occupy a building at the thermal resort of Agua Tibia in Purace. Maria Astudillo was hit in the chest with a projectile and taken to a local hospital in Popayan, where she succumbed to her wounds. Purace is one of the centres of an ongoing land dispute, where the local Kokonkco community demand the liberation of indigenous lands.

Humanitarian commission attacked with gunshots in Tumaco, Narino

Over a dozen members of a humanitarian commission were attacked in Narino, south-western Colombia. Reports suggest that the mission, led by the ONG Conpaz, was targeted with tear gas and stun guns while monitoring on Sunday investigations to a previous incident in Tumaco, where police officers reportedly killed at least six Campesinos. Among the commission members were international and domestic observers, activists and journalists. Conpaz said that security forces are also believed to be behind this latest incident, which came after Vice-President Oscar Naranjo requested a special investigation to assess a potential police involvement on last Thursday's massacre.

Gold mine mudslide kills seven in Choco

At least seven miners have been killed when a mudslide struck a gold mine in Choco, north-western Colombia. Local authorities revealed that the incident happened on Friday in San Jose de Tado. Mining accidents are common in Colombia mainly due to rarely enforced health and safety conditions, where most accidents tend to occur on clandestine or unlicensed exploration sites.

UN Security Council approves resolution to monitor ELN ceasefire

The UN Security Council has approved on Thursday a resolution to extend responsibilities of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia to include the monitoring of the bilateral ceasefire deal between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN). Members of the Colombian government, the ELN, the UN and the Catholic Church are set to verify the truce, which is initially scheduled to last until mid-January. The UN Verification Mission is already monitoring the peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Several campesinos killed in violent unrest in Tumaco, Narino

At least nine campesinos have been killed and nearly 20 others were injured when clashes broke out during a protest in Narino, south-western Colombia. A number of conflicting reports were issued regarding the circumstances behind the attack that took place in Puerto Rico, located in the area of Tumaco. On one side, rights and local organisations accused the police and the military of indiscriminately shooting protesters that have been offering resistance against the government's programme to eradicate coca crops. On the other side, the National Police issued a statement on Thursday claiming that a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) opened fire at the crowd after throwing five bomb cylinders at security forces.

Police launch massive crackdown against organised crime groups

Colombia's Minister of Defense Luis Carlos Villegas has announced on Tuesday that around 180 criminals have been detained in a massive joint operation across 18 Colombian departments. Hundreds of officers led by the police's anti-kidnapping unit, Gaula, carried out a number of operations to tackle organised crime groups dedicated to extortion and kidnapping nationwide. Among the groups targeted were the notorious "Clan del Golfo" along with 'Los Pelusos' and 'Los Puntilleros'. Paramilitary and organised crime groups expanded their operations across Colombia mainly due to ongoing peace negotiations with guerrilla groups.

Police anti-kidnapping unit rescues abducted boy in Bogota

The police anti-kidnapping unit has rescued a four-year-old boy who was kidnapped in Meta, central Colombia. The victim was taken on Monday from his home in Acacias and was rescued a day later in southern Bogota's Venecia neighbourhood. One suspect was detained, but investigations suggest that three other criminals were involved in the abduction. According to reports, criminals intended to demand 20m pesos (nearly $7k) in ransom.

Several Clan del Golfo militants detained in Cordoba

Nearly 20 members of the subversive paramilitary group Clan del Golfo have been detained across Cordoba, northern Colombia. The Colombian Navy announced on Monday that, after months of investigations, the suspects were arrested in a series of joint operations - involving the Army, the National Police and the Attorney General' office - in Lorica, San Antero, San Bernardo del Viento, Monitos and Chinu. Despite an increasing crackdown on its operations, the Clan del Golfo still widely operates in western and northern Colombia.

Roadside bomb kills three police officers in Miranda, Cauca

Three police officers have been killed after a roadside bomb hit a patrol vehicle in Cauca, south-western Colombia. The attack happened on Saturday on a road between Potrerito and Caraqueno in the rural area of Miranda. Authorities believe that the National Liberation Army (ELN) and dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are behind the attack, which came hours before the start of the ceasefire between the government and the ELN. Since the peace deal with the FARC, ELN militants and paramilitary groups have filled the power vacuum left by the former guerrilla group around the Cauca Valley.

ELN and government initiate ceasefire amid peace negotiations

The National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Colombian government officially initiated a ceasefire agreement on Sunday. Military operations targeting ELN strongholds in northern Colombia will be suspended, while the guerrilla group agreed to cease operations against security forces and government-owned structures until early-January. During this period, armed attacks are still possible mainly due to the group's looser leadership structure compared with the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In late-October, the ELN and the government are set to start their fourth round of peace negotiations.

ELN regional leader shot dead in Casanare

A regional leader of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has been killed during fierce armed clashes with the military in Casanare, northern Colombia. According to the Colombian Army, alias 'Carro Loco' was shot dead in the rural area of Aguazul during a joint operation with the police and the local attorney general's office. Loco was injured and later succumbed to his wounds after being taken to a military hospital in Yopal. Authorities believe that he is linked to the killing of nearly a dozen military soldiers in Norte de Santander back in 2013. The incident comes a day before the ELN and the Colombian government started a ceasefire agreement.

Military detains ELN regional leader in Narino

A regional leader of the National Liberation Army (ELN) has been detained along with four other militants during a military operation in Narino, south-western Colombia. Alias 'Carlos', the leader of an ELN commission in the Pacific was arrested during an operation in Charco's rural area of Banguela. According to military sources, weapons and ammunition were seized along with drugs and an electric boat. Reports suggest that one person was killed when a violent shooting broke out.

Suspect ELN militants set bus on fire in Norte de Santander

The local authorities in Norte de Santander are investigating a security incident where an inter-municipal passenger bus was set on fire. The incident happened on Monday evening on a road between Pamplona and Toledo. Preliminary investigations suggest that militants of the National Liberation Army (ELN) are believed to be behind the attack. No casualties were reported as all passengers were later taken to Toledo. ELN militants and other paramilitary groups widely operate in Norte de Santander and also across other departments along the Venezuelan border.

Dozens of paramilitary-linked criminals detained in Antioquia

Nearly 30 criminals linked to the subversive group Clan del Golfo have been detained during a massive police operation in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Hundreds of police officers took part in the operation which targeted a drug-trafficking organisation offering financial support to the paramilitary group. Colombian authorities have recently launched a massive crackdown on the Clan del Golfo after the group started systematically targeting the security forces across Antioquia and Choco. In September, President Juan Manuel Santos announced that the group was willing to surrender.

Security heightened over crime wave in Jamundi, Valle del Cauca

Local authorities in Jamundi announced that security measures in the city have been beefed up over a recent wave of criminality reported in central Colombia's Valle del Cauca. Police officers and Colombian Army soldiers will be deployed across the urban and rural areas of the region, especially in Villacolombia and La Liberia, where dissident members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are believed to operate. Last week, a businessman was kidnapped in the city days after a former football player was shot dead.

Dissident FARC leader killed in military operation in Guaviare

A dissident leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been killed in a remote area in central Colombia. President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed that alias 'Euclides' was shot dead during a military operation in Guaviare. Euclides was one of the five FARC leaders who rejected the peace agreement between the guerrilla group and the government. He is believed to lead the dissident FARC front which kidnapped a UN monitor near Miraflores back in May, as well as being involved in extortion, drug-trafficking and the recruitment of minors.

Oil pipeline targeted in fresh attack in Norte de Santander

The state-owned oil company Ecopetrol has announced that its Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline has been targeted in a fresh attack in Teorama, Norte de Santander. According to a communique, oil spills affected local communities surrounding the Catatumbo river, near the Venezuelan border. President Juan Manuel Santos condemned the attack, while Ecopetrol announced that a contingency plan has been launched in the area. The same 780-kilometre pipeline is often targeted by the National Liberation Army (ELN), which last week launched an attack near Saravena.

UN Mission completes final steps of FARC weapons decommissioning

The UN Mission in Colombia has completed the final stage of the FARC disarmament process after nearly 9,000 weapons and 38 tonnes of explosives were destroyed. According to the UN, 8,994 weapons, 11,015 grenades, 3,528 landmines, 4,370 mortars and a massive number of bomb-making equipment were decommissioned. All weapons, ammunition and explosives were handed over by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as part of the peace agreement between the guerrilla group and the Colombian government. In mid-September, the UN Security Council approved a new mission to Colombia aimed at monitoring FARC's political transition and other aspects of the peace deal.

ELN militants launch wave of attacks in Arauca

Three police officers have been injured in separate armed attacks across Arauca department, northern Colombia. The incident happened on Saturday in the bordering city of Arauquita and Arauca. In Arauquita, a patrolling police officer was attacked when assailants activated an explosive device and opened fire in the town's Matecana neighbourhood. Meanwhile, in Arauca, two patrol police officers were also wounded when criminals opened fire on them in Sabanales area. Both attacks were followed by another incident where criminals opened fire at a police station in Fortul. Police believe that all attacks are linked to militants of the National Liberation Army (ELN), despite the group's efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement with the government.

Soldier injured in ELN grenade attack in Cauca

A Colombian soldier has been injured after suspected National Liberation Army (ELN) militants attacked an army unit in Cauca, south-western Colombia. According to an official communique, members of a special urban force in Corinto were attacked when assailants riding a motorcycle threw a grenade. The ELN and the Colombian government are set to initiate a three-month-long ceasefire agreement next week as part of the peace negotiations.

Businessman kidnapped near Cali, Valle del Cauca

Colombian authorities are investigating the disappearance of a 51-year-old businessman who was reported missing on Thursday in Valle del Cauca, south-western Colombia. Local media reported that Guillermo Moncada was taken by armed men near his mother's home in Jamundi, on the outskirts of Cali. A search operation was launched by the Army's special anti-kidnapping unit, Gaula, while further information remains undisclosed. Valle del Cauca, especially around rural areas, is widely known for the presence of drug-trafficking groups.

A dozen FARC dissident militants arrested in Meta

A dozen members of a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been detained in a military operation in Meta, central Colombia. The operation was carried out by the Army's Omega Joint Task Force which targeted members of a notorious dissident group led by alias 'Gentil Duarte', a FARC leader who rejected the peace deal. It is believed that Duarte leads one of the biggest dissident fronts in western Colombia. Hundreds of FARC dissident militants are still believed to operate across western and southern Colombia, especially in Antioquia, Choco, Cauca, Narino, Putumayo and Caqueta departments.

Roadside bomb hits police patrol unit in Cordoba

Two police officers have been killed and three others have been injured after a police patrol unit was targeted with explosives in Cordoba, north-western Colombia. Local media reported that the incident took place in the rural area of Canalete, near the department's coastal region, where a roadside bomb went off. It remains unclear which group is behind the attack, but preliminary investigations suggest the potential involvement of the Clan del Golfo, which widely operate in the region and had previously targeted security forces across northern Colombia.

Small blast reported at Bogota's shopping centre

A commercial centre in northern Bogota was evacuated following a small-scale blast on Wednesday morning. Preliminary reports suggest that the explosive was placed inside a rubbish bin at the Plaza Imperial shopping centre, while a 25-year-old man holding fake explosives attempted to rob a bank at the mall. No casualties have been reported as police officers ordered people to evacuate the venue. El Espectador reported that robberies targeting financial institutions have been largely reported across Bogota's Usaquen, Barrios Unidos and Engavita areas.

ELN launch renewed attack to oil pipeline in Saravena, Arauca

Suspected members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) launched a fresh attack on the Cano Limon-Covenas oil pipeline in Arauca, northern Colombia. Local media reported that a powerful blast was witnessed in the town of Saravena on Monday. Soldiers were deployed to the area to secure repair operations carried out by engineers of the oil-giant Ecopetrol. The Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline is often targeted by ELN militants stationed in the region along the Venezuelan border. The attack came nearly two weeks ahead of the start of the ceasefire agreement between the ELN and the Colombian government. 

ELN militants kill police officer in Arauca

A 25-year-old police officer has been shot dead after suspected members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) attacked his vehicle in Arauca, northern Colombia. Local media reported that David Nates Florez was killed while parking his vehicle in the city's Los Fundadores neighbourhood. Florez was shot in the head multiple times and taken severely injured to the hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds. The incident came just weeks before the start of a ceasefire agreement between the ELN and the government.

Avianca briefly suspends sales of domestic flights over potential strike

Colombia's airline Avianca has suspended the selling of internal flights tickets as a response to the potential pilots' strike due to start next week. According to a communique, the company said that ticket sales will be suspended for 72 hours from Wednesday in order to keep operations running smoothly. More than half of Avianca pilots - most who operate domestic flights in Colombia - are set to take part in the strike over ongoing payments and benefits disputes. It is still unclear if the influential ACDAC union will proceed with the strike, while the Ministry of Works is mediating negotiations between the union and the company.

Avianca pilots to launch strike action amid salary dispute

More than half of the pilots working for Colombian-based airline Avianca have voted in favour of launching strike action amid ongoing salary and benefits disputes. Pilots backed by Avianca's largest workers' union, ACDAC, demanded better payments for local pilots and the reduction of working hours. ACDAC's head Captain Jaime Hernadez told Reuters that an indefinite strike is set to start next week. Avianca is one of the main Latin American carriers and also a member of the Star Alliance.

Police station attacked with explosives in Antioquia

Two police officers have been slightly injured after criminals attacked a police station in Antioquia with explosives. The department's police commander, Colonel Carlos Mauricio Sierra, told El Tiempo that the suspects were riding a motorcycle when they fired two grenades at a police station in Puerto Valdivia. Meanwhile, two vehicles parked near buildings of the Hidroituango project - Colombia's largest hydroelectric project - were set on fire after six armed criminals stormed the facilities. Sierra said that the suspects claimed to be part of the National Liberation Army (ELN), while authorities believe that both attacks are connected.

UN Security Council approves new Mission to Colombia

The UN Security Council has approved the mandate and other operational guidelines of the UN Verification Mission in Colombia. The new mission is scheduled to start on 26 September and aims to ensure a smooth transition and reintroduction of former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) members into civil society. As part of the peace agreement with the Colombian government, FARC guerrillas fully demobilised in mid-August and recently launched their own political party.

Trump pressures Colombia to tackle drug-trafficking

US President Donald Trump has threatened to decertify Colombia as an ally on the international commitment to tackle drug-trafficking. In a statement released on Wednesday, Trump pressured the Colombian government to reverse their poor records which recently unveiled a surge in the country's drug production and coca cultivation. President Juan Manuel Santos' government said in a statement that: "Without a doubt, Colombia is the country that has had the biggest success and has most combatted drugs. Nobody has to threaten us to confront this challenge." Among the 22 countries that the US considers the main drug transit zones - which Colombia is part of - only Bolivia and Venezuela were accused of significantly failing their efforts.

Pope Francis urges for openness over FARC peace deal

During his official visit to Colombia, Pope Francis urged parts of the population to consider accepting reconciliation with former guerrilla groups, namely the disbanded Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). During a meeting in Villavicencio, the Pope called for openness to accept forgiveness as thousands of FARC members are set to be reintroduced to the civil society. The meeting came just hours after FARC leader Rodrigo Londono publicly asked Pope Francis for his "forgiveness for any tears or pain that we have caused the people of Colombia." Pope Francis' visit to Colombia was one of the factors which influenced the ceasefire agreement between the government and the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Police officer shot dead in Remedios, Antioquia

A police officer has been shot dead after being attacked at a public car park in Antioquia. The incident happened on Monday evening when German Colonia was leaving a public venue in Remedios. It remains unclear who is behind the attack, but the area is known for the heavy presence of the Clan del Golfo group. The incident came almost a week after a 38-year-old police officer was killed in an ambush in Antioquia's town of Giraldo.

Envoy to discuss UN assistance to monitor ELN ceasefire

A Colombian envoy to the UN, Jean Arnault, said that he is discussing a government request for UN assistance to monitor the recently brokered ceasefire with the National Liberation Army (ELN). Arnault said on Monday that further discussions throughout this week are set to enable Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to issue a series of recommendations. The ceasefire is scheduled to last until mid-January, where the ELN is committed to halting kidnappings and attacks on government infrastructures.

President Santos announces Clan del Golfo's plans to surrender

President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Tuesday that the subversive Clan del Golfo is willing to surrender. President Santos said in Bogota that: "We received an expression of willingness by the head of the Golfo Clan to turn themselves in, to submit to justice (...). I have asked the justice minister and the attorney general to evaluate it." The Clan del Golfo is a group intrinsically linked to drug-trafficking activities. Recently, Colombian authorities waged a massive crackdown on the group's leadership after it started to systematically attack security forces in Antioquia and Choco.

ELN and government agree temporary ceasefire

The Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) agreed to launch an indefinite ceasefire ahead of the visit of Pope Francis to Colombia. Local media reported that ELN rebels agreed to temporarily suspend attacks targeting civilians and to cease their kidnapping and extortion operations. Both sides have been engaged in the third phase of the peace negotiations in Ecuador's capital Quito, which started back in February.

Senior Clan del Golfo member shot dead in Uraba

A senior member of the subversive Clan del Golfo has been shot dead during a military operation in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. Roberto Vargas Gutierrez, also known as 'Gavilan', was presumedly the second highest ranking member of the organisation and one of the most wanted criminals in Colombia. He was killed during the ongoing Agamemnon II operation in the port municipality of Turbo. Gavilan is responsible for controlling the drug-trafficking corridor in Corboda and key routes to Panama. He was also suspected of creating the 'Plan Pistola', a series of assassinations targeting security forces in Antioquia and Choco.

ELN confirms Russian hostage's death in Choco

The National Liberation Army (ELN) announced on Sunday that the Russian-Armenian hostage Arsen Voskanyan was shot dead when he tried to escape captivity back in April. According to the ELN, Voskanyan - a suspected wildlife trafficker - was killed when he overtook militants in Choco department, north-western Colombia, where he was expected to be handed over to local Red Cross delegates. The information was not confirmed by the Colombian government, which is currently engaged in peace negotiations with the ELN. 

Police officer killed during robbery in Bogota

A police officer has been shot dead after criminals attempted to rob his motorcycle in Bogota. The incident was reported on Wednesday evening when two armed men ambushed Aureliano Sierra in the capital's Ciudad Bolivar locality. Tensions escalated when Sierra reacted to the robbery and was later shot dead. Despite official data showing a significant decrease in robberies in the city, attacks targeting motorcyclists are widely common.

FARC rebranded as the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force

The demobilised Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is set to officially launch its rebranded political party on Friday. Former guerilla leaders decided during a meeting last week the party's name and potential candidates ahead of Colombia's 2018 elections. The name chosen is the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, which in Spanish keeps the same acronym as the group's guerrilla past. A ceremony is scheduled to take place in Bogota's Bolivar square on Friday. As a result of the peace agreement with the government, the FARC will be granted five seats in both houses of Congress for two terms.

Heightened security measures ahead of the Pope's visit to Colombia

Heightened security measures are expected ahead of Pope Francis's visit to Colombia. Security members from the Vatican are heading to the country to check the final arrangements ahead of the visit scheduled from 6 to 11 September. Among the cities included in the programme are Bogota, Villavicencio, Medellin and Cartagena. The Pope's visit was initially set as the deadline for a temporary ceasefire between the government and the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Ministry accuses Venezuela of military incursions in La Guajira

Colombia's Foreign Ministry has filed a complaint at Venezuela's Embassy in Bogota over accusations of Venezuelan military incursions along the border in La Guajira, north-eastern Colombia. Sources told Reuters that Venezuelan soldiers crossed the border into Paraguachon overnight on Saturday and stole personal possessions from residents. Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro denied all accusations. Tensions between both countries further deteriorated after Colombia granted protection to Venezuela's former Attorney General Luisa Ortega.

Two wounded in Cartagena shooting

Two people have been wounded in a shooting in the northern coastal city of Cartagena. Two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire at a Bomba de Amparo on the Avenue Pedro de Heredia on Monday. The victims were taken to local hospital for treatment, while police are investigating the cause of the attack.

Abducted businessman's son released in Norte de Santander

A 37-year-old son of a prominent businessman in Norte de Santander has been released after spending four days in captivity. Preliminary reports revealed that Yeison Guerrero Arevalo was abducted by four armed men while travelling along the Cucuta-Tibu highway, in the restive area of Catatumbo. It is still unclear which criminal group is behind the abduction. Norte de Santander has recently recorded a number of high-profile kidnappings mainly attributed to the National Liberation Army (ELN) and paramilitary groups.

FARC launch political party

Around 1,200 delegates have joined the first FARC congress since the group demobilised and transitioned into a political party. "At this event we are transforming the Farc into a new, exclusively political organisation," said its leader, Rodrigo Londoño. The delegates are expected to pick a new name for the group and select the candidates to run in elections in 2018.

ANI president resigns over Odebrecht scandal

The president of the National Infrastructure Agency of Colombia (ANI), Luis Fernando Andrade, has resigned due to the ongoing Odebrecht SA fraud scandal. Andrade was involved in the construction of the Ruta del Sol highway and Odebrecht has admitted paying bribes to secure the project. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has appointed the current deputy minister of finance, Dimitri Zaninovich, to succeed Andrade.

DEA concerned over hike in cocaine production in Colombia

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has raised concerns after reports revealed a significant increase in cocaine production in Colombia. According to the DEA, up to 92 percent of all cocaine apprehended in the US comes from Colombia. Such hampering numbers are believed to be linked to a recent hike in the US domestic demand. Despite earlier efforts to eradicate illegal crops in Colombia, militant and paramilitary groups still heavily rely on the coca trade to finance their operations.

One killed as ELN clashes with paramilitary in Choco

A 23-year-old indigenous woman has been shot dead during clashes between the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Clan del Golfo group in Choco, north-western Colombia. Ana Mary Mepaquito was killed when violent shootings broke out on Tuesday morning in Riosucio, a small community located along the margins of the Atrato River. Local leaders raised concerns and requested immediate humanitarian assistance due to the ongoing wave of violence across the department. Choco, a former FARC stronghold, has been the location of fierce territorial disputes between militants and paramilitary groups.

Floods affect thousands across Choco

Around 3,000 people have been widely affected due to floods across Choco, north-western Colombia. According to the Red Cross, more than 800 families were ordered to evacuate their homes after a number of local rivers burst their banks. Reports suggest that the towns of Atrato and Condoto were the most affected. Choco has been facing torrential rains for almost a week, while adverse weather conditions are forecast to continue in the coming days.

Hundreds left homeless after fire engulfs Medellin shantytown

Local authorities in Medellin declared a state of emergency on Saturday after a massive fire destroyed a whole community. The fires broke out on Friday morning at the poor neighbourhood of Moravia and quickly spread over the weekend. It is estimated that more than 470 families were left homeless and at least a dozen others were injured. Medellin's Fire Department is investigating the potential causes of the fire, which was fueled by a large number of wooden houses in the community.

Soldier injured during ELN cashes in Cauca

A Colombian soldier has been injured after armed clashes with the National Liberation Army (ELN) broke out in Cauca, south-western Colombia. Security sources revealed that a confrontation erupted along the Yantin River in Timbiqui during a joint military operation. Despite wishes to reach a cease-fire ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Colombia, ELN fronts remain widely active in the country's south-west.

Police officer killed in armed attack in Tibu, Norte de Santander

At least one police officer has been killed and five other people were severely injured when armed criminals attacked a police escort unit in the rural area of Tibu, Norte de Santander. Local media reported that armed criminals on a motorcycle opened fire at police officers escorting a cash-in-transit vehicle on Tuesday, but according to El Pais the cash was not targeted. The Tibu area is part of the restive Catatumbo region, where the National Liberation Army (ELN) and other subversive criminal groups are known to operate.

Roadside bomb hits military convoy in Tame, Arauca

Three military contractors have been injured when their convoy hit a roadside bomb in Arauca, north-eastern Colombia. The Colombian Army confirmed that the Domingo Lain Saenz front of the National Liberation Army (ELN) is behind the attack. The incident was reported on Tuesday when an escorting convoy was attacked in Tame. Despite intentions to reach a ceasefire with the government, ELN fronts remain highly active in northern Colombia.

UN completes FARC weapons extraction

The UN Mission in Colombia announced on Tuesday the official conclusion of the FARC disarmament process. According to a statement, the Special Representative of the Secretary General Jean Arnault revealed that 8,112 guns and more than 1.3 million incinerated cartridges were successfully removed through containers across 26 temporary camps. Besides the weapons, the process of fully destroying all FARC-owned explosives and unstable material was also completed. The lengthy process comes to an end after President Juan Manuel Santos declared the FARC full demobilisation in late-July.

Army seizes massive explosive depot in Narino

The Colombian National Army has seized a massive quantity of explosives and bomb-making material in Narino, south-western Colombia. Military sources revealed on Sunday that more than 445 kilos of ammonium nitrate/fuel oil (ANFO) - a highly volatile explosive - were recovered along with detonators and wires in the rural area of Sotomayor. According to the Army, such material was enough to make more than 4,000 anti-personnel landmines and dozens of bomb cylinders. It remains unclear which group owned the material; however, the area is known for the strong presence of the National Liberation Army (ELN) and drug-trafficking groups.

Large FARC explosives cache seized in Guaviare

The Colombian Air Force and anti-narcotics police have seized a large cache of explosives believed to belong to a dissident FARC front stationed in Guaviare, southern Colombia. Official sources revealed that more than 350 grenades and a number of bomb-making materials were recovered in the rural area of La Union. Despite the FARC demobilisation process, some dissident fronts still operate across Colombia, especially in Guaviare.

Santos and his cabinet to testify over Odrebrecht bribery scandal

President Juan Manuel Santos and nearly his whole former and current cabinet have been summoned by the Supreme Court to testify over bribery schemes linked to the Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht. The move involves 18 members from Santos's both former and current cabinet, including former VP German Vargas who is set to run for president in 2018. The request was made by the defence attorney of Senator Bernardo Miguel Elias - a key member and ally of the ruling Social Party of National Unity - who was arrested last week on suspicion of receiving bribes reaching up to $9m.

Girl killed in clashes between the Army and FARC dissidents in Meta

A 13-year-old girl has been shot dead during clashes between the Colombian Army and dissident militants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The incident happened on Thursday in the rural area of La Uribe in central Colombia's Meta department. Despite the full demobilisation of the FARC, dissident fronts still widely operate across several departments such as Meta and Guaviare.

ELN considers to declare unilateral ceasefire

The National Liberation Army (ELN) announced on Wednesday that the guerilla group is considering engaging in a unilateral ceasefire ahead of the Pope Francis's visit to Colombia in September. ELN's chief negotiator Pablo Beltran told Reuters that: "The ELN will take all necessary efforts to reach a bilateral ceasefire, but if not possible, we might consider to launch it unilaterally". The ELN and the government recently resumed peace talks in order to reach an immediate ceasefire.

Paramilitary group kills campesino leader in Narino

A campesino leader has been murdered after suspected paramilitary soldiers raided his residence in Narino, south-western Colombia. Preliminary reports suggest that more than 20 heavily armed individuals raided the house of Nidio Davila in El Rosario. Witnesses' accounts revealed that the assailants kidnapped Davila and took him to El Cable, where he was shot dead on the streets. It is believed that the subversive Clan del Golfo is behind the attack, which was intended to intimidate the local population.

Social leader found dead in Popayan, Cauca

A 34-year-old social leader has been found dead near her home in Cauca, south-western Colombia. According to reports, the body of Idaly Castillo Narvaez was recovered near a coffee plantation in Popayan. Castillo was the leader of the Mesa de Participacion de Victimas of the town of Rosas, a platform which addresses victims affected by the Colombian armed conflict. Since the demobilisation of the FARC, paramilitary and drug-trafficking entities are taking over the power vacuum left by the guerrilla group, especially in Cauca and Narino.

Humberto de la Calle launches 2018 presidential bid

The Colombian chief negotiator with the FARC, Humberto de la Calle, announced on Tuesday that he is running for president in the 2018 elections. De la Calle is set to represent the Liberal Party or to run independently. He confirmed in a statement that his main priority will be to coordinate efforts regarding the FARC peace agreement and tackle the escalating paramilitary violence which erupted after the guerilla group was fully demobilised. In March, Former VP German Vargas resigned from office to launch his bid to succeed President Juan Manuel Santos.

UN observers ambushed in Caloto, Cauca

Heavily armed criminals ambushed observers of the UN Mission in Colombia in Cauca, south-western Colombia. The incident happened when UN observers, police officers and members of the demobilised Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were carrying out works to extract seized weapon caches in the rural area of Caloto. A police officer was injured, while the remaining personnel was evacuated to a local UN compound. It is still unclear which group is behind the attack. Last week, the UN initiated its operations to remove more than 7,000 weapons seized amid the FARC peace process.

OCHA warns for mass displacement over clashes in Norte de Santander

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has warned of potential mass displacements amid ongoing clashes between militant groups and the Colombian Army. According to reports, around 30 people were already affected in Teorama, while the number is likely to increase as battles persist and spread across Norte de Santander. Clashes have been ongoing since late-July and have already led to the displacement of more than 240 people in Hacari.

Businessman kidnapped in Ocana, Norte de Santander

A 53-year-old businessman was reported kidnapped in Norte de Santander, north-eastern Colombia. The incident happened on Wednesday afternoon when two armed men attacked the victim in Ocana. It remains unclear who or which group is behind the attack, while the area is known for a strong presence of National Liberation Army (ELN) militants. The incident comes several days after presumed ELN militants kidnapped a former mayor near Toledo.

ELN finance chief arrested in heavy military operation in Choco

The Colombian Armed Forces and the National Police launched a joint operation on Wednesday, against a National Liberation Army (ELN) front stationed in Choco, north-western Colombia. The operation took place in Jurado, where two ELN members were arrested and several militant materials were seized. Among the detained is alias 'Wilmar', a chief financial operator for the Nestor Tulio Duran front. According to the military, the front is mostly dedicated to drug-trafficking and attacks targeting security forces.

Curfew imposed as miners' protests escalate in Antioquia

Antioquia's Governor Luis Perez imposed a military curfew as ongoing miners' protests escalate in the towns of Remedios and Segovia. The National Army was deployed to the region on Monday after at least 24 people were injured amid long-standing demonstrations against the multinational mining company Gran Colombia Gold. The measure comes as local authorities are investigating if paramilitary and militant groups are infiltrated among protesters to generate chaos and incite further violence.

Four ministers replaced in Santos cabinet reshuffle

President Juan Manuel Santos has announced changes in four ministries and a number of governmental organisations. German Cardona will become the new transport minister, while Marina Gutierrez and Jaime Pumarejo will be sworn in as Trade and Housing ministers respectively. Agriculture Minister Aurelio Iragorri will departure, but only when the cattle foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in northern Colombia is brought under control. The move comes as Santos's administration enters its final year.

Buses set ablaze amid indigenous land dispute in Cauca

Two buses and more than 100 hectares of land have been set ablaze amid presumed land disputes in Cauca, south-western Colombia. The incident was reported on Saturday in Caloto when indigenous militants set a cane plantation on fire, triggering outrage from local business associations and farmers' groups. According to El Pais, the authorities are investigating if the National Liberation Army (ELN) or FARC dissidents are behind the attack.

Two ELN senior members arrested in northern Colombia

Two National Liberation Army (ELN) leaders have been arrested in separate operations in Bolivar and Antioquia, northern Colombia. Luis Meza was arrested in the rural area of El Bagre for links to illegal mining, extortion and kidnapping. Meza is also accused of targeting the security forces in a number of occasions along the Bajo Cauca region. Meanwhile, in Bolivar, the police arrested Marina Vallejo, who is accused of leading an armed front dedicated to targeting civilians and infrastructures across both departments. The government and the ELN are currently negotiating a ceasefire as part of ongoing peace negotiations.

Clan del Golfo commander jailed in Villavicencio, Meta

A suspected Clan del Golfo senior commander was jailed on Monday for murder and terror-related charges. Edilson Cifuentes, also known as Richard, was arrested in Villavicencio due to his role in leading paramilitary operations in Meta and Guaviare provinces. He previously spent nearly 10 years in prison before being released in 2016. Despite successive crackdowns on the group's operation, the Clan del Golfo has been gaining vital grounds across former FARC strongholds.

Six contractors killed in Buritica gold mine blast, Antioquia

Six people have been killed in a powerful blast at a gold mine in Antioquia, northern Colombia. According to Reuters, all victims were security contractors of the Canadian-based Continental Gold, who were inspecting an illegal gold mine in Buritica. It is still unknown what triggered the explosion, while regional authorities are investigating for further casualties. Illegal mining is common in Colombia and deadly accidents often occur.

Soldier killed in ongoing clashes in Hacari, Norte de Santander

A Colombian soldier has been killed and another injured in ongoing clashes between security forces and militants in Hacari, Norte de Santander. Victor Charry Olaya was killed on Thursday when a presumed National Liberation Army (ELN) sniper opened fire near Maracaibito. Security in the region is still volatile after hundreds of people were displaced when fierce clashes broke out earlier this week.

College's chairman shot dead in Medellin, Antioquia

The head of a Medellin's college was shot dead during a suspected robbery attempt on Thursday afternoon. Manuel Jaime Arango, chairman of the Rafael Uribe Uribe College, was killed when two armed men attempted to steal his motorcycle on Campo Valdes neighbourhood. The incident was confirmed by Medellin's Mayor Federico Gutierrez, who said the police is investigating the attack. Arango was killed on the same day four other people were also assassinated in separate incidents across Medellin.

Police investigate rape of Spanish tourist in Cartagena, Bolivar

The police in Cartagena, northern Colombia, is investigating a sexual attack on a 22-year-old Spanish tourist last Monday. According to reports, the victim was walking with her partner when two moto-taxi drivers offered them a ride near Turbaco area. Moments later, while en route to Pasacaballos, one of the drivers diverted from the route and raped her. Local authorities offered a reward of COP10m ($3,500) for information leading to the perpetrators' arrest.

FARC to launch political party in September

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) announced on Monday a settled date to launch a political party. Carlos Antonio Lozada, FARC's senior commander, told AFP that: "We will publicly launch the party on September 01 in the Plaza de Bolivar". In May, the Colombian Congress approved - as part of the peace deal - to grant FARC five seats in both houses between 2018 and 2026. FARC guerrillas fully demobilised last month after peace talks with the government put an end to a long-standing armed conflict, in which more than 260,000 people were killed.

Government and ELN to resume peace talks in Quito, Ecuador

Peace talks between the government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) are scheduled to enter their third phase on Monday. Colombian officials and ELN leaders are set to meet in Quito, Ecuador, in the attempt to reach a ceasefire agreement in order to allow humanitarian aid to areas heavily affected by the armed conflict. Further points regard the introduction of ELN militants into the Colombian society. Talks are set to last until early-September, ahead of Pope Francis' visit to Colombia.

ELN kidnaps former mayor in Norte de Santander

A former Colombian mayor has reportedly been kidnapped in a suspected National Liberation Army (ELN) ambush in Norte de Santander. Carlos Omar Delgado Bautista was abducted while travelling with his family along the Toledo-Chinacota road when four ELN militants attacked his vehicle. Local media reported that the victim's family were tied up and robbed before he was taken. Despite government talks with the ELN, the militant group still engage in kidnaps and attacks against security forces in Norte de Santander.

Two ranchers kidnapped in Versalles, Valle del Cauca

Five armed criminals kidnapped on Sunday two ranchers in Valle del Cauca, western Colombia. Luis Alejandro Lopez and John Jairo Moreno were abducted in the rural area of Versalles and taken towards the neighbouring department of Choco. Authorities believe that a National Liberation Army (ELN) front is behind the abductions. The Army and its anti-kidnapping elite unit Gaula launched an operation in the area, which was recently reinforced due to a widespread criminal presence.

Two minors die of Chagas disease in Villanueva, Bolivar

Three cases of Chagas disease have been reported in Bolivar, northern Colombia. A two-year old boy and another minor were killed on Thursday after contracting the disease in Villanueva, where another teenager is in a critical condition. Chagas disease is a tropical parasitic infection usually transmitted through infected bugs in rural areas. Symptoms may include fever, aches, rash and diarrhoea; however, in many cases, symptoms are not visible for many years.

Five killed and scores injured in bus crash in Guajira

Five people have been killed and 43 others were injured in a bus crash in Guajira, northern Colombia. The accident was reported overnight on Wednesday when a passenger bus collided with a tanker lorry along the Riohacha-Cuestecitas road. Police revealed that the bus operated by Expreso Brasilia overturned and caught on fire after the collision. Despite a high number of casualties, bus crashes on national and regional roads in Colombia do not occur very frequently.

Campesino leader shot dead in El Carmen, Norte de Santander

The body of a Campesino social leader has been found on the streets of El Carmen, Norte de Santander. Ezequiel Rangel was killed when suspects opened fire on him near Guamalito. Rangel was the leader of the peasants association in Catatumbo, a former FARC-stronghold long haunted by the presence of paramilitary and militant groups, such as the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the People's Liberation Army (EPL). Despite the FARC peace agreements, dozens of social leaders have been killed in the region and across Colombia.

Military in fierce armed clashes, Norte de Santander

Dozens of families have been displaced after a fierce armed confrontation broke out in Hacari, Norte de Santander. Local media reported that gunfire lasted for more than nine hours during a military operation to secure and control the area from an undisclosed armed group. A soldier was injured, but the overall number of casualties is still unclear. Armed militants often engage in clashes with security forces in Norte de Santander, where criminal and paramilitary groups are active.

Scores injured in Bogota tower block blast

At least 26 people were injured when a powerful explosion hit a tower block in northern Bogota. Emergency services rushed to the Tibabita neighbourhood in the early hours of Sunday after a strong blast ravaged one of the block's apartments. It remains unclear what caused the explosion, as technicians headed to the scene to investigate for potential gas leaks. 

Solider killed in shooting with ELN near Caceres, Antioquia

A Colombian soldier has been killed in clashes with the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Antioquia, northern Colombia. The incident happened on Sunday when gunfire erupted during a military operation in the rural area of Caceres. Reinforcements were sent to the area in order to locate the militants, who are believed to be part of ELN's Heroes de Taraza front. Despite ongoing peace talks between the government and the ELN, armed incursions targeting security forces are common in northern Colombia.

Russia to suspend beef imports over FMD outbreak

Officials confirmed on Tuesday that Russia will suspend beef imports from Colombia due to a recent foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in northern Colombia. The Dutch overseas territory of Curacao is also applying the same measure. Both countries are joining Peru, Panama and Chile which also impose meat imports bans after an FMD strain was reported in late-June. FMD does not affect humans directly, but it is highly contagious to other animals. This is the first time the FMD has reappeared in Colombia after it was eradicated back in 2009.

UN Security Council approve new mission to Colombia

The UN Security Council has unanimously approved on Monday the establishment of a UN Verification Mission in Colombia. The new mission is set to replace the current UN Mission in Colombia - which oversaw the disarmament process - in September. The Verification Mission will fully monitor the reintroduction of former FARC militants into the civilian society for an initial period of 12 months. The mission comes on the same day President Juan Manuel Santos granted amnesty to 3,600 FARC rebels under last year's peace agreement.

Bomb attack kills two soldiers in Guaviare

At least two soldiers have been killed and four civilians were injured when a bomb went off in Guaviare, southern Colombia. According to the Colombian Army, an improvised explosive device was planted inside a bin before being detonated via remote control in the rural area of San Jose del Guaviare. It is believed that dissident FARC militants are behind the attack. Despite reaching a peace deal with the government, some FARC militias refused the agreement and remain highly active in Guaviare.

Military rescues seven kidnapped workers in Casanare

The National Liberation Army (ELN) released seven workers after a joint military operation in Casanare, central Colombia. Air Force and Army soldiers headed to Sacama after they were informed of the victims' location. Reports suggest that there was no armed confrontation as the militants are believed to have fled the area before military helicopters arrived at the scene. The workers were heading to La Salina on Wednesday when their vehicle was ambushed by suspected militants of ELN's Adonai Ardila Pinilla Front.

ELN militants erect roadblocks in Norte de Santander

Colombian security forces were mobilised on Tuesday after National Liberation Army (ELN) militants erected a roadblock in Norte de Santander. Militants blocked a road with a lorry for several hours near a school in Toledo. Meanwhile, People's Liberation Army (EPL) erected another blockade between Cucuta-Ocana road. The incident came as an ongoing blockade was active for its second day in the neighbouring department of Arauca, where special anti-explosives brigades were deployed to neutralise three roadblocks along the main department's road to central Colombia.

ELN bomb attack wounds two officers in La Mata, Cesar

Two police officers have been injured in a bomb attack in Cesar, northern Colombia. The attack happened on Monday evening when suspected members of ELN's Francisco Bosio front targeted a police station in La Mata. Despite peace talks with the government, ELN militants continue to attack security forces nationwide. In late April, a civilian was killed in a car bomb attack in Cesar's Pailitas area.

Clan del Golfo leader arrested in Montecristo, Bolivar

Colombia's Armed Forces have announced on Wednesday that a member of the subversive Clan del Golfo group was killed in Bolivar, southern Colombia. Seven members were also arrested, including 'Robin', the second in command of the group's Luis Fernando Gutierrez Front stationed in Montecristo. Besides the arrests, several weapons and a cache of ammunition were seized. The joint operation came as an important hit on Clan del Golfo's operations due to the Front's main role on extortion and drug trafficking activities.

FARC front release UN worker kidnapped in Guaviare

The Ministry of Defense confirmed on Wednesday that the abducted UN worker has been released from captivity. According to the communique, Herley Lopez Hernandez has informed his superiors that he had been freed. Hernandez was abducted nearly two months ago near Miraflores by a FARC dissident front stationed in Guaviare, southern Colombia.

Former mayor's brothers shot dead in San Pedro, Valle del Cauca

Three brothers of a former Colombian mayor have been killed during a shootout in Valle del Cauca, western Colombia. The victims were attacked on Monday afternoon near a snack bar in San Pedro, where armed criminals on a motorcycle opened fire. The deceased were family members of San Pedro's former mayor James Guarin Vasquez, who served for two terms in office. Local media reported that Vasquez was not at the scene during the attack, while it remains unclear if the attack is linked to him.

Several killed in bus accident in Santander

Nearly a dozen people have been killed and six others were injured when a passenger bus crashed with a lorry in Santander, north-eastern Colombia. The collision took place on Tuesday morning along the Panamericana highway near Barrancabermeja. Local authorities revealed that the bus was carrying 15 passengers from Puerto Tarra to Bucamaranga. The crash comes just one day after the end of Colombia's religious holidays, where more than 30 people were killed in road accidents nationwide.

Roadside bomb wounds three officers in Calamar, Guaviare

Three police officers have sustained light injuries after a roadside bomb went off in Guaviare province, southern Colombia. The incident happened on Monday when a police patrol unit was attacked in Calamar. Authorities believe the attack was carried out by a dissident front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) stationed in the region. Despite the peace agreement with the FARC, the group's dissident fronts remain widely active in Guaviare; where last May a UN worker was kidnapped near Miraflores.

ELN to seek ceasefire agreement ahead Pope Francis's visit

The Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN) completed their second rounds of peace talks in Quito, Ecuador on Friday. Both the ELN and the government showed their commitment to initiate negotiations on a ceasefire in order to achieve significant progress and ease escalating tensions ahead of Pope Francis's visit in September. Talks are scheduled to resume on 24 July. Negotiations have suffered several setbacks due to the increasing number of recent attacks and kidnappings carried out by ELN militants.

Five killed amid wave of violence in Medellin, Antioquia

Five people have been killed amid a wave of violence in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. The incidents happened on Thursday in separate locations in the department's capital Medellin. Three bodies were found abandoned during the morning in Santa Monica, Bombona and Kennedy neighbourhoods. It is still unclear what motivated the crimes. Meanwhile, two other victims were shot dead, including a man who attempted to stop a robbery in the Florencia area. So far in 2017, more than 240 people were assassinated in Medellin.

ELN militants kill army soldier in Norte de Santander

A Colombian army soldier has been killed during an armed confrontation with suspect National Liberation Army (ELN) militants in Norte de Santander, northern Colombia. The shooting broke out in Teorama when soldiers were escorting repair services along the Cano Limon Covenas oil pipeline, which is often targeted by ELN militants despite ongoing peace talks with the government. Besides the ELN, drug-trafficking and paramilitary groups are also known for their presence in Norte de Santander.

Taxi driver stabbed during robbery in Pereira, Risaralda

A 57-year-old taxi driver has been stabbed during a robbery attempt in Pereira, central Colombia's Risaralda department. Silvio Antonio Agudelo was working in Canceles area when two armed men attacked him on Sunday evening. Agudelo managed to call his colleagues on his radio, who rushed him to the hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds. Pereira is one of the most dangerous cities in Colombia, presenting one of the highest homicide rates in the country.

Neighbours to halt meat imports due to FMD outbreak in Cauca

Peru and Panama halted meat and milk imports from Colombia after a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) strain was reported in Arauca, near the Venezuelan border. Both countries are suspending imports after seven animals contracted the disease at a farm in Tame. Despite the virus not directly affecting humans, it is highly contagious to other animals and may seriously affect the country's animal product exports. This is the first time the FMD reappeared in Colombia after it was eradicated back in 2009.

Three police officers killed in armed incursion in Cauca

Members of the Police Judicial Investigation Section (SIJIN) were attacked on Monday evening in Cauca, south-western Colombia. At least three SIJIN officers were killed and three others remain missing when heavily armed criminals ambushed them in La Vega. The area is known for the heavy presence of National Liberation Army (ELN) front Manuel Vazquez Castano, but it is still unclear who or which group is behind the attack.

FARC complete full disarmament process

The UN Mission in Colombia announced on Monday that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) completed its disarmament process. In a press release, the UN revealed that FARC's full arsenal of 7,132 weapons has been registered and stored as part of the peace deal - some weapons are still to be handed over before August. The achievement comes a week after President Francisco Manuel Santos declared "the end of FARC", as the guerilla group initiated the third phase of the disarmament process.

Nine detained over links to Bogota bomb attack

Nine people have been arrested in connection with last week's bomb attack which killed three people at a shopping centre in Bogota. The suspects were arrested in operations launched across two municipalities of Tolima province. Authorities accused the attackers of being linked to the left-wing militia People's Revolutionary Movement (MRP). The MRP is believed to be a National Liberation Army (ELN) splinter cell, which employed a similar technique in previous attacks - placing low-intensity bombs in women's public restrooms.

Dozen killed in coal mine blast in Cundinamarca

At least a dozen people have been killed in a blast at an underground coal mine in Cundinamarca, central Colombia. Emergency services rushed to the Cucunuba mine on Friday afternoon when an explosion was reported in the Pueblo Viejo area. According to the National Mining Agency (ANM), the blast was caused by high levels of methane. Government sources confirmed that the mine was operating illegally and that safety measures were nonexistent. Accidents in illegal mines in Colombia are common and often lead to a high number of casualties.

ELN release Dutch journalists in Catatumbo

The National Liberation Army (ELN) has freed two Dutch TV presenters on Saturday. Despite an initial setback blamed on miscommunication, the group finally freed the duo in Catatumbo, near the Venezuelan border. Derk Bolt and Eugenio Follender were abducted last week in El Parra area in Norte de Santander. Both were working on a Dutch TV programme aimed at locating missing relatives abroad. According to the ELN, they were kidnapped after entering an ELN stronghold. Abduction is one of the main issues in the ongoing peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the ELN.

Government launch renewed crackdown on Clan del Golfo

Colombia's Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas announced on Thursday the launch of a new operation to dismantle the subversive Clan del Golfo group. Villegas revealed that 1,500 soldiers and police officers will be deployed nationwide to assist a 3,200-strong joint task force in efforts to capture Clan del Golfo's leader Dairo Antonio Usuga David. This is the second phase of the 'Agamenon' operation, which was launched two years ago. Despite successive crackdowns on the group's operation, Clan del Golfo has been gaining vital grounds due to the FARC's demobilisation process.

Ten killed as tourist boat sinks in Antioquia

At least 10 people have been killed after a tourist boat sank in Antioquia, north-western Colombia. The accident happened on Sunday afternoon when a four-story vessel sank during a tour along the Penol-Guatape reservoir. More than 30 people were killed and 10 others believed to be still missing. Local media reported that passengers were not wearing life jackets, while authorities are investigating if the vessel was overcrowded and followed all safety regulations.

Special court grants parole to FARC top commander

The Special Peace Jurisdiction (JEP) has released 'Martin Sombra' on parole. Sombra is one of the FARC's highest ranking commanders who had been under arrest since 2008. He was previously sentenced to 24 years in prison for links to the 1998 attack on the security forces in Mitu, where 41 people were killed and 61 others were kidnapped. He is also responsible for the kidnapping of former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and other high-profile political abductions.  JEP is a special court created to investigate FARC guerrillas amid the Colombian peace process.

Several landslides block main Bogota-Villavicencio road

Over a dozen people have been rescued after heavy rains triggered several landslides in central Colombia. The whole Bogota-Villavicencio road has been blocked in 19 points. The incident happened near Pipiral, where dozens of families were affected by the rising levels of the Pipiralito River. No casualties have been reported. Landslides and flooding become more frequent during Colombia's rainy season, which usually lasts until October.

ELN blamed for attack on oil pipeline in Arauca

The Cano-Limon Covenas oil pipeline, one of the most important oil infrastructures in the country, has suffered renewed attacks over the weekend in Arauca, northern Colombia. Initial reports revealed that suspected members of the National Liberation Arm (ELN) targeted an oil duct near Saravena on Saturday afternoon. Army officers and Ecopetrol workers rushed to the scene to avoid further spillage contaminating drinking water. So far, 32 attacks on the Cano Limon-Covenas have taken place in 2017, all reported in the Arauca, Boyaca, Norte de Santander and Cesar departments.

Two Dutch journalists kidnapped in Norte de Santander

Two Dutch journalists have been kidnapped in Norte de Santander, northern Colombia. Both men were working for a Dutch TV programme aimed at locating missing relatives. They were stationed in El Tarra, near the restive Venezuelan border, and were reported missing over the weekend in Catatumbo. The National Liberation Army (ELN) - which holds a strong presence in the region along with other paramilitary groups - has been accused of being responsible for the kidnappings. According to the BBC, the group refused to comment on the incident.

Seven injured in grenade attack in Bogota

At least seven people have been injured in a grenade attack in Bogota. A strong blast was reported in the capital's Guacamayas neighbourhood in the early hours of Saturday when local residents were having a meeting. It remains unclear who was responsible for the attack, while authorities are investigating if the incident was gang-related. Grenade attacks, usually targeting security forces, are common across Colombia.

Three killed in bomb attack at Bogota shopping centre

Three people were killed and nearly a dozen others injured in a bomb attack at a shopping centre in Bogota. The incident happened on Saturday evening at the Andino shopping centre in Zona Rosa area. Police reports suggest that the blast was caused by a small home-made device placed in the women's toilet. It remains unclear who or which group is behind the attack as the police are treating it as a terror-related incident. 

Roadside bomb kills a soldier in Arauca

A Colombian soldier has been killed and three others injured after their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Arauca, northern Colombia. The incident happened on Wednesday evening near the Angostura area when soldiers were heading to deliver supplies to a local oil exploration zone. Authorities are blaming the National Liberation Army (ELN), which widely operates in the region, for carrying out the attacks. Despite ongoing peace talks with the government, ELN militants continue to target security forces in northern Colombia.

VP demands FARC dissidents to release kidnapped UN worker

Vice-president Oscar Naranjo has demanded that a dissident FARC front immediately releases a UN worker kidnapped last month in Guaviare, southern Colombia. Naranjo said the government will not comply with such acts amid the ongoing peace process agreed with the FARC leadership. The demands come after Jean Arnault, chief for the UN Mission in Colombia, acknowledged that the UN could be more incisive to pressure the group to achieve the worker's release.

FARC complete second disarmament phase

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reportedly completed the second phase of the disarmament process amid the peace agreement with the Colombian government. So far, the FARC was supposed to surrender 60 percent of 7,000 weapons registered in their arsenal. However, the UN Mission in Colombia said that only 40 percent of the total were handed over. The process is set to head to the third part of the process, where militants are expected to hand over the remaining 40 percent of their weapons by late-June. The process has been suffering a series of setbacks, including delays on construction of camps, leading to the extension of the deadlines.

HRW condemns attacks to Colombia's native and afro population

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned on Wednesday the National Liberation Army (ELN) and the Gaitanistas Autodefense (AGC) for successive attacks targeting the native and afro-Colombian population. In a statement released in Washington DC, HRW Director Jose Miguel Vivanco blamed such groups for killings, recruitment of minors and threats directly targeted at such population. While ELN is holding peace talks with the government, paramilitary members of the AGC have been accused of fulfilling FARC's former strongholds through association with criminal entities.

ELN calls for ceasefire ahead of Pope Francis's visit

On Monday, the National Liberation Army (ELN) requested the Colombian government to establish a temporary ceasefire ahead of Pope Francis' visit in early-September. The guerilla group claims that the measure would be imperative in the strengthening of the peace negotiations initiated in February. Despite peace negotiations, ELN militants remain widely active in the country's northern departments.

UN confirm FARC met first disarmament deadline

The UN confirmed on Wednesday that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) fulfilled the first disarmament deadline under the peace agreement with the government. According to a statement, the group has officially handed over 30 percent of its weapons. The disarmament process suffered several setbacks linked to delays in the construction of camps and several alleged violations by both parts. Two other deadlines were established to FARC militants surrender the remaining of their 7,000 registered weapons.

Social leader assassinated at home near Barranquilla

Two armed men on motorcycles gunned down a local social leader near Barranquilla, northern Colombia. Bernardo Cuero Bravo was killed when watching a televised football match at home in Malambo. Cuero was a member of the National Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians (AFRODES) and also involved in many other projects in Atlantico Department. AFRODES requested the government further security in the area, claiming that several of its members and Rights leaders often suffer threats.

Woman killed on gender-based homicide in Cali

A 26-year-old woman has been killed by her partner in Cali, western Colombia. Preliminary investigations suggest that Stephanie Ramirez was raped and beaten to death by her partner at her mother-in-law's house. This is the fifth case of gender-based homicide reported in Cali during 2017. Domestic violence against women has been widely reported in recent months, triggering widespread protests in Latin America.

UN Mission reveals series of violations in FARC peace deal

The UN Monitoring and Verification Commission revealed on Tuesday a series of ceasefire violations under the peace agreement between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Out of 10 violations recorded, three of them were considered severe. They include a rape attempt of two children at a FARC mobilisation camp; the wounding of a soldier injured after he entered a camp in Guaviare; and a military aircraft overflight of a camp in Norte de Santander. Such violations generate a setback on the peace process, which has already suffered a number of delays, especially regarding the full disarmament procedures.

Floods and landslides affect thousands in Bahia Solano, Choco

Thousands of people were affected as heavy rains triggered widespread floodings and landslides in Bahia Solano, north-western Colombia's Choco department. More than 300 families were evacuated in the early hours of Wednesday after water levels rose in two local rivers. Local authorities are urging the central government to assist the area, which has been facing reported food and energy shortages - food and fuel remain limited in the area after protests forced the closure of the Buenaventura port.

Thousands demand education reforms in Bogota

More than 60,000 teachers from public schools nationwide marched on the streets of Bogota amid a month-long strike. Teachers, students and several other workers' unions took the streets to complain about the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos. Teachers are demanding more support and better working conditions from the education ministry. The Colombian Federation of Education Workers (Fecode) is accusing the government of stalling the talks.

FARC leader threatens to suspend disarmament campaign

Rodrigo 'Timochenko' Londono, the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), threatened to suspend the guerilla's disarmament campaign after two FARC demobilised members were allegedly arrested by Colombian security forces. Timochenko has accused the Colombian government of violating the peace agreement with both arrests in Bogota and Guaviare. Last week, the government announced the FARC's disarmament deadline extension for extra 20 days due to delays in special camps construction.

Thousands of teachers to occupy Bogota amid str