The National Liberation Army (ELN) assured this Wednesday that Alejandro Montoya, one of its negotiators in the peace talks that took place in Ecuador, died along with four other guerrillas in a bombardment that the Colombian authorities carried out on December 13. may.
“We informed the country and the international community of the loss of the comrade and peace negotiator Alejandro Montoya, who along with Fredy and three other guerrillas died in the bombardment carried out by the Government Military Forces in Montecristo, south of Bolívar (north),” he said. the ELN in a statement.
Montoya, known by the alias “Gallero”, was part of the ELN delegation that entered into peace talks with the Colombian Government in Quito in February 2017.
The guerilla specified that its negotiator “was part of the subcommittee that drafted the protocols for the temporary national bilateral ceasefire,” which was carried out between October 1, 2017 and January 9, 2018.
In addition, “Gallero” was a member of the Oversight and Verification Commission of said cessation, made up of the United Nations, the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, the Government and the ELN.
Colombian Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo reported on May 14 that “at least four guerrillas died in an operation carried out by the authorities.”
Among those killed is a guerrilla identified with the alias “Mocho Tierra,” whom the authorities accuse of being the head of the south-south subregion of the Darío Ramírez Castro war front, which operates in Bolívar.
After the bombardment, the authorities seized three assault rifles, three pistols, suppliers, ammunition, communications equipment, quarterly supplies, and documents.
According to the authorities, the insurgent had been in the guerrilla for 27 years and had three fronts of the ELN under his command.
Currently “Mocho Tierra” was in charge of the finances derived from drug trafficking and the illicit exploitation of mining sites in the region.
Likewise, “Mocho Tierra” was accused of participating in the hijacking of the Avianca Fokker 50 plane on April 12, 1999, which covered the air route between Bucaramanga and Bogotá with 35 passengers and five crew members, in addition to the six hijackers who took control of the aircraft when it was in the air.
The kidnappers landed in a rural area in the south of Bolívar and another group of guerrillas took the passengers and crew.
Gradually, and after paying ransoms, the guerrillas released the kidnapped, although one of them died during captivity.
The ELN began peace negotiations with the previous Colombian government in February 2017 in Quito, which in May 2018 were transferred to Havana, where the last round of dialogues concluded without progress in early August of that year.
The President of Colombia, Iván Duque, made the continuation of the peace talks conditional on that group ceasing to kidnap and releasing the people in its power.
After the attack on January 17, 2019, against a police school in Bogotá, in which 22 cadets died, the dialogues were at a standstill and Duque asked Cuba to deliver the ELN delegates who are in Havana to the dialogues, a request that has not been attended by the island’s government.