ELN chief Angel Padilla Romero, identified 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 mentioned.

Angel Padilla Romero, identified 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 informed 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’ve made the toughest hit towards the ELN in the middle of the federal government of President Ivan Duque,” Colombian Defence Minister Diego Molano mentioned 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,” mentioned Molano, including that seven different rebels had been additionally killed within the bombing.

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

“He was a legal of the best hazard,” added Molano, who known as Fabian “the writer of many murders, kidnappings” and described him as a “drug trafficking ringleader” behind the displacement of hundreds of individuals.

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

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

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

The Worldwide Committee of the Crimson Cross (ICRC) mentioned in a report in March that 389 folks – largely civilians – had been killed by explosive gadgets final yr. 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 mentioned, including that civilians had been paying the worth of the surge in violence.

The United Nations additionally mentioned earlier this yr 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 loss of life is crucial strike towards the ELN since fellow commander “Uriel” was killed in a army operation in October final yr.

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