ELN chief Angel Padilla Romero, recognized by alias Fabian, died in hospital after a army bombing, defence minister says.

A prime commander of Colombia’s Nationwide Liberation Military (ELN) insurgent group has died of accidents sustained in a army bombing, the federal government stated.

Angel Padilla Romero, recognized by his alias Fabian, headed the ELN’s Western Entrance and died in a hospital in Cali, the nation’s third-largest metropolis, Defence Minister Diego Molano advised reporters on Tuesday.

Romero was taken to hospital after being discovered injured within the jungles of Choco province, one of many insurgent group’s strongholds, 10 days after the bombing.

“We now have made the toughest hit towards the ELN in the midst of the federal government of President Ivan Duque,” Colombian Defence Minister Diego Molano stated throughout a information convention, describing the insurgent commander as “crucial chief of the ELN nonetheless in Colombia”.

“We captured him alive, we gave first support and he was moved to a hospital in Cali the place he died whereas receiving medical consideration,” stated Molano, including that seven different rebels had been additionally killed within the bombing.

Colombian President Ivan Duque stated on Twitter that the “narco-terrorist” and “murderer” had been “neutralised”.

“He was a felony of the best hazard,” added Molano, who known as Fabian “the creator of many murders, kidnappings” and described him as a “drug trafficking ringleader” behind the displacement of 1000’s of individuals.

The ELN is the final energetic insurgent organisation working in Colombia after a 2016 peace settlement that formally disarmed the nation’s principal insurgent group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Some FARC dissidents stay energetic within the South American nation, nonetheless, whereas the ELN has some energetic 2,300 combatants and an intensive assist community in city centres.

Colombia, which has been rocked by mass anti-government protests this 12 months, additionally skilled a surge in violence in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Worldwide Committee of the Pink Cross (ICRC) stated in a report in March that 389 individuals – principally civilians – had been killed by explosive units final 12 months. That’s the highest tally since 2016, when the peace deal between the federal government and the FARC was signed.

The nation faces at the least 5 persevering with conflicts with armed teams, the ICRC stated, including that civilians had been paying the worth of the surge in violence.

The United Nations additionally stated earlier this 12 months that violence was “intensifying” in Colombia, particularly in distant elements of the nation, and that killings of human rights activists have been on the rise.

Romero’s dying is crucial strike towards the ELN since fellow commander “Uriel” was killed in a army operation in October final 12 months.

Duque in 2019 ended negotiations with the group after the rebels claimed a automobile bomb assault that killed 22 police cadets, resuming army operations towards the ELN as a substitute.