The Attorney General of Colombia, Francisco Barbosa, has revealed information in which Colombian intelligence allegedly describes plans by the ELN to assassinate him. Barbosa announced that members of this illegal organization met in Venezuela to plan his murder.
Information from Attorney General Barbosa
According to a report issued by the agency itself, a group of ELN guerrillas reportedly met in Venezuela to plan the assassination of Colombia’s Attorney General. In a public statement, the Prosecutor’s Office states that there are three sources reporting this plan, including one from state intelligence. However, the Prosecutor’s Office has acknowledged that it is working to verify the sources.
According to this statement, the meeting would have taken place in July. Five ELN members would have participated in it, giving instructions to carry out an attack by snipers. The operation’s leader would be alias “El Rolo,” a leader of ELN’s urban networks. Another member of this organization involved in the plan would be Jaime Galvis Rivera, alias Ariel.
Some ELN deserters point out that alias Ariel is a sort of hidden power within this guerrilla group. His name started gaining prominence and appearing in the media a few months ago. In fact, the guerrilla has kept a low profile during the ongoing peace negotiations with the government.
ELN Delegation Denies the News
The ELN’s peace delegation has vehemently denied the news. In addition, negotiators from this armed group have accused Prosecutor Barbosa of attempting to sabotage the dialogue with the government. “The news delivered by Prosecutor Barbosa is false. With it, he is trying to sabotage the ongoing dialogue process between the Government and the ELN,” the delegation wrote on Twitter.
Otty Patiño labels the news as “extremely serious”
Otty Patiño, the head of the government’s negotiating delegation, has labeled the information as an “extremely serious” matter. Patiño considers it serious if true, as there is currently a 6-month ceasefire in effect that just began last week. The delegate also announced that the matter will be referred to the Verification and Monitoring Mechanism for the Ceasefire to verify its accuracy.
Patiño has been very cautious about this surprising information. “Not everything that comes from an Intelligence source, attributed to a specific group, is completely accurate,” he said in a statement to Blu Radio.
The highest representative of the State delegation has also regretted that Venezuela’s name is involved in this alleged action just when relations between the two countries are being restored.
However, Patiño wanted to emphasize that the news would also be “extremely serious” if false. In this regard, he lamented that publicity has been given to information that has not yet been verified and “without sufficient evidence.” It’s worth noting that Attorney General Barbosa has been very critical of the government’s “Total Peace” program with various armed groups operating in Colombia.
Colombian Foreign Minister also calls for clarification
Colombian Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva, on his part, described the news as “a bomb against the peace process with the ELN.” Leyva spoke from Brazil, where he is accompanying President Petro on the second day of the Amazon Summit.
“I would say that we need to thoroughly investigate this because it could very well be a bomb against the peace process,” the Colombian foreign minister said. Finally, Leyva called for clarification of an incident that, if confirmed, would be a violation of the conditions agreed upon in the bilateral ceasefire between the government and the ELN.