Rebel group ELN has denied accusations of a plot to assassinate Colombia’s Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa after the attorney general’s office claimed to have received information from multiple sources indicating a potential terrorist attack targeting him. The alleged plot emerged shortly after a ceasefire was implemented between the Colombian government and the ELN, which has been active in the country since 1964.
According to the attorney general’s office, intelligence units within the armed forces provided warnings about a meeting held in neighboring Venezuela involving high-ranking ELN members. The sources suggested that ELN members were being trained to carry out a sniper attack on Attorney General Barbosa, led by an individual known as “Rolo.” The attorney general’s office also highlighted “suspicious transactions” totaling up to $750,000 in accounts linked to “Rolo.”
In response, the ELN delegation currently engaged in peace talks with the government labeled the allegations as “false” and accused the attorney general of attempting to undermine the ongoing peace process. The ELN has criticized the attorney general for his opposition to President Gustavo Petro’s “total peace” plan and his stance on negotiations with armed groups.
Francisco Barbosa, who has served as Colombia’s attorney general for over three years, has expressed concerns about potential hindrances to his office’s ability to detain individuals suspected of serious crimes due to peace deals with armed groups. He has also proposed initiatives to reduce prison sentences for members of criminal gangs in exchange for their disbandment.
The ELN is the last active guerrilla group in Colombia and has engaged in conflict with the state for nearly six decades. Previous attempts at negotiating a peace deal with the group have failed. However, on August 3, a six-month bilateral ceasefire between the Colombian government and the ELN was initiated, marking a potential step towards peaceful negotiations. The next round of peace talks is scheduled to take place in Venezuela on August 14.