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Bolsonaro asked Venezuela not to "shelter" ELN

January 18, 2019 22:33
Updated January 18, 2019 22:42

The president of Brazil asked Venezuela on Friday not to "take refuge" in its territory to the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army (ELN), which the Colombian government blames for the car bomb attack of the day previous in a police academy in Bogotá.

"We would like Venezuela not to give those terrorists of ELN a den, protection," the president said in a short video message.

Colombian prosecutors have reported that ELN leaders are taking refuge in Venezuela, but President Ivan Duque's government has said it has no evidence of Venezuelan officials.

Bolsonaro, who claims to exert regional pressure on the government of Nicolás Maduro, also said that he called Duque to "show solidarity" after "the terrorist attack" of ELN, the last active guerrilla in that country.

"We would like that group to lay down their arms and free the countless hostages they have in their power," the president said.

The attack is a fatal blow to the peace dialogues that the government and the guerrillas have held since 2017 and have remained neutral since August.

The Colombian Defense Minister Guillermo Botero assured the terrorist act against the cadet school, which killed 20 students between 17 and 22 years, was committed by an ELN explosives expert, identified as José Aldemar Rojas Rodríguez, 56 years and perished in the attack.

Among the deceased there is an Ecuadorian cadet. There were also 68 wounded, including three minors, according to police. Nine people remain hospitalized.

For the time being, ELN has not commented on the allegations. The influential Chavista leader Diosdado Cabello denied the involvement of Caracas and condemned the attack.

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