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Interpol issues international arrest warrant against ELN’s top leader Nicolas Rodriguez on October 3

Reports indicate that following a request issued by Colombia’s Chief Prosecutor, he International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) issued a red notice against the top leader of the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista, also known as “Gabino”, in order to find about his whereabouts and pursue his arrest. Rodriguez has been charged in Colombia with homicide and illegal recruitment of militiamen. A warrant for his arrest in Colombia was put on hold after the government launched a dialogue track with the ELN in February 2017, following the peace agreement with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) in late 2016.

Interpol’s red notice targeting the ELN’s leader likely comes amid domestic political pressure to crackdown on the group, following months of unsuccessful talks between the government and militants. In this sense, the issuing of an international red notice underscores unwillingness on the part of Colombian authorities to afford further resources in seeking an understanding with the ELN. Although this development does not significantly alter the already ailing prospects of reconciliation, it will probably undermine the likelihood of subsequent peace talks. In any event, the government is likely to step-up judicial as well as military pressure on rogue militants.

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