Around 10pm Friday night, a bomb exploded in the Puerto Rellena area of Cali, Colombia as a truck carrying Colombian ESMAD riot police passed by, leaving 13 police injured as of Saturday morning. The Marxist terrorist group ELN immediately took responsibility, publishing an article saying
“We inform that at 9:55 pm on January 7, our units carried out action against the Police ESMAD in Carrera 46 with Calle 25 in the city of Cali, in the Puerto Resistencia sector, with the result of 13 police officers injured. Our forces withdrew safely.”
President Ivan Duque condemned the attack and ordered immediate security operations against the ELN. “It’s clear their interest is to interfere in the political process this year, with the support of socialist and communist dictators. Colombia will not bow down now or ever to terrorism, and our government will never reward terrorists,” he said in a Tweet.
The city of Cali announced a reward of up to $70 million Colombian Pesos (approximately $17.400 USD) for information leading to the identification, capture, and prosecution of those responsible.
The ELN, “Ejército de Liberación Nacional” (National Liberation Army) is a loosely criminal group in Colombia that originally started as a communist insurgency, but over the decades has transformed itself into a mafia-type group that thrives on kidnap, extortion and narcotrafficking, especially in rural areas. The ELN continues to use the communist “Class Struggle” concept as justification for its violence. Insight Crime calls the ELN the most powerful criminal group in Colombia, filling a vacuum left when most of the FARC rebels reached a peace accord with the government.