18 ELN guerrillas surrender in Colombia
Bogota, Dec 8 (IANS) Eighteen leftist rebels in Colombia have surrendered to the navy under increasing military pressure, EFE reported Monday.
The guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country's second biggest insurgent group after the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), surrendered to the navy in the northwestern coastal province of Choco.
'I have news here that 18 from the ELN, pressured by the navy, surrendered south of Bahia Solano and Nuqui, in Choco,' President Alvaro Uribe said Sunday during a community council meeting in Bogota.
The president said the surrender came after intense naval operation in the coastal area, some 800 km from the capital, after ELN rebels killed nine police officers in an ambush in the province.
The ELN, like the FARC, has been fighting the government for four decades now to seize power. Several attempts to negotiate peace with the group in the 1990s and the early 2000s broke down.
In August, 45 members of a break away group of the ELN, the Guevarist Revolutionary Army (ERG), surrendered after signing a demobilization agreement with the government.
The ERG guerrillas mainly operated in Choco and Antioquia provinces, as well as in parts of the west-central province of Risaralda.
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