Bogota taking rebel attack threat 'very seriously': mayor

Bogota (AFP) –


Bogota's mayor said Wednesday that she is taking "very seriously" an alleged plan by left-wing guerrillas to carry out an attack on the Colombian capital.

Defense Minister Diego Molano reported on Monday that Cuba had tipped off the government about a plan by National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels to attack Bogota in the "next few days."

"We've evaluated this information, which is incipient, but which in any case we're taking very seriously," said Mayor Claudia Lopez, who was joined by Molano.

Lopez said the security forces had taken "preventative measures so this threat is not carried out."

Molano added that the police and military had "deployed all their force and capabilities" to prevent the attack.

The ELN carried out a car bombing at a police academy in Bogota in January 2019 that left 22 people dead, in addition to the attacker.

Then ELN rebels had previously been angling for a similar peace deal to the one the government signed with the larger and more prominent Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) group in 2016, ending a half century of insurrection.

But President Ivan Duque called off talks following the police academy attack.

Since 2018 Havana has hosted an ELN delegation to negotiate a peace deal.

Cuba said it had informed the ELN delegation about the attack plan but that the rebel group's representatives "expressed total ignorance" of the plot and claimed "that it has no involvement in the military decisions or operations of the organization."

The ELN, which is considered the last active rebel group in Colombia, has around 2,300 fighters and an extensive support network in urban centers.

Colombia claims a significant number of the rebels are in Venezuela under the protection of "the dictatorship of (President) Nicolas Maduro."