Colombia: Country’s last active guerrilla group ELN agrees truce
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After almost 60 years of conflict, Colombia’s government and its last active rebel group have agreed to a truce.

National Liberation Army (ELN) said it would cease fighting from Thursday, ahead of a full ceasefire in August.

According to Colombia’s defence minister, the armed forces will also be instructed to cease offensives at that time.

The ELN said it would defend itself from any attacks by the military or other armed groups.

It follows last week’s agreement on a six-month ceasefire. On 3 August, the law will go into effect.

The ELN has agreed to the longest halt in its conflict since taking up arms against Colombia’s state in 1964 if it holds.

Despite this, there is skepticism that it will succeed. The day after the ceasefire was announced, three policemen were killed by ELN members.

A week earlier, government forces had killed six soldiers from the group in the east.

Former rebel group member Gustavo Petro promised to bring “total peace” to Colombia during his presidency when he took office last year.

A ceasefire decree has not yet been signed by him, according to local media reports.

Until August, Colombian guerrillas and the Colombian state will continue their peace negotiations in Venezuela.

Former peace talks between the ELN and the larger FARC rebel group failed in 2016.

Although it was shaky at times, the deal ended one of the longest guerrilla conflicts in the Americas.

ELN members are accused of smuggling drugs and mining illegally to raise funds.

According to humanitarian groups, thousands of people have fled their homes due to fighting between armed groups like the ELN over territory.