Car bomb in eastern Colombia conflict area kills one

Car bomb in eastern Colombia conflict area kills one
# 21 January 2022 05:24 (UTC +04:00)

A car bomb killed one person and wounded five in an eastern Colombian city where illegal armed groups are vying for territorial control, the military said on Thursday, APA reports quoting Reuters.

The car bomb exploded close to midnight in Saravena, in Arauca province along the border with Venezuela, where guerrillas from the National Liberation Army (ELN) are clashing with dissidents of the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who reject a 2016 peace deal.

The explosion, which military authorities attributed to the dissident FARC's 10th front, destroyed a number of buildings, including the headquarters of a human rights group.

About 30 people have been killed in a string of clashes in Arauca. Violence has also spilled over into Apure state in neighboring Venezuela, forcing hundreds of people to flee to Puerto Carreno, the capital of Colombia's Vichada province.

"The situation in Arauca and Apure seems to be deteriorating quickly," Juan Pappier, senior investigator for the Americas for advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW), told Reuters.

"There's a serious risk this will escalate into tit-for-tat killings against whoever one armed group accuses to be related to the opposing party."

Earlier this month, Colombia's President Ivan Duque ordered the deployment of two army battalions to Arauca to control the violence.

Clashes between the FARC and ELN in Arauca hark back to similar fighting in the mid-2000s, when hundreds were killed.

Last year, thousands of Venezuelans from La Victoria, a municipality of Apure, fled to Colombia amid fighting between FARC dissidents and the Venezuelan military. read more

Colombia's government accuses Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro of harboring both dissidents and the ELN, which the Venezuelan leader has repeatedly denied.

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