A Colombian soldier was killed during a fight with the National Liberation Army (ELN) in the rural area of San Calixto, in the Catatumbo region, bordering Venezuela, despite the fact that the guerrillas are in a supposed Christmas truce, military sources said today. .
"In development of the military offensive that we have been holding in Hacarí, San Calixto and Teorama, our soldier Walter Pertúz Gómez is killed in the development of this operation," General Mauricio Moreno told RCN News.
The officer explained that Pertúz, a native of Apartado, Antioquia (northwest), belonged to the Rapid Deployment Force number 3, composed of 3,000 men and that President Iván Duque activated on October 28 to fight against the illegal armed groups in the Catatumbo, one of the most convulsive in the country.
The ELN initiated on December 23 a unilateral ceasefire that will last until January 3 and that was met with skepticism by the Government, which demands that it stop all criminal activities, especially kidnapping, in order to resume dialogue peace.
The government and that guerrilla have been negotiating a peace agreement since February 2017, but the talks are suspended and President Duque has subordinated the dialogues to the ELN ending its criminal activities.
For his part, Defense Minister Guillermo Botero said in his Twitter account that the country's Public Force "lost a hero" and assured that "the fight against crime will continue without truce", so the death of the soldier "will not be in vain."
Moreno added today that the murder of the professional soldier shows that the guerrillas "systematically violate Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law and intends to affect the civilian population."