United Nations chief to visit Colombia to shore up peace

Santos also said the government was “always willing to extend the ceasefire” with the major rebel military group but that they had “inexplicably refused.”

He noted Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has recognized "the need for access to land ownership as a major incentive for reintegration" for FARC members. Two soldiers were injured in the attack.

Colombia's military and ELN rebels resumed hostilities on Wednesday after failing to agree to an extension of a bilateral ceasefire, in spite of pleas by victims and the global community to maintain a ceasefire.

"Inexplicably, the ELN not only refused, but they reinitiated terrorist attacks this morning", Santos said in a short televised address, according to AP.

Colombia's chief government negotiator in peace talks with the nation's last remaining rebel group said Thursday officials are still committed to reaching a new cease-fire agreement despite fresh guerrilla attacks that put a pause on the dialogue.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will head to Colombia this weekend to support peace efforts. The end of that conflict has been hailed internationally though it has also opened a new power struggle in remote areas previously controlled by FARC rebels and still occupied by ELN combatants. Colombia's military attributed the attack to the ELN.

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In a report to the council last month, Guterres said that a "significant number" of FARC rebels "have joined illegal or dissident groups" as a result of a "growing frustration with the lack of opportunities". Colombian Vice-President Oscar Naranjo Trujillo, speaking to the UN Security Council, promised: "The government is not walking away from peace".

He said Wednesday's attacks occurred in "complex situations" of war and that the group maintained its intention to negotiate a new ceasefire.

From the beginning, the Colombian government was skeptical of whether or not ELN leaders could ensure compliance among their ranks if a peace deal were in fact achieved.

After the signing of the Peace Agreement in Colombia in November 2016, after some four years of talks in the Cuban capital, the United Nations Security Council approved a mission to verify the ceasefire and the delivery of weapons.

The government has also deployed 2,000 troops to Nariño's important port city of Tumaco to quell the fighting following the ceasefire.

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