Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo reports that, between January 1 and June 7, homicides declined by 17 percent compared to the same period in 2019. Police data show 15 types of crime dropping by 80 percent or more during this period. The country’s COVID-19 lockdown is the principal cause.
The Bogotá-based think tank CERAC, which maintains a database of conflict events, finds no significant increase in offensive armed actions committed by the ELN since the end of the group’s April unilateral ceasefire. “Since March there is no registry of the death of civilians or security force members in violent events attributed to the ELN,” CERAC reports. However, the guerrilla group commits several kidnappings during this period.
Colombia’s National Police announces that it measured 1,321 homicides during the pandemic quarantine period of March 20-May 20, a 34 percent drop from the 2,012 homicide cases measured between those dates in 2019.
An overview of conflict trends during the first four months of 2020. Notes some decrease in overall violence amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with armed groups enforcing restrictions and social leaders facing even more attacks.
Colombia’s air force bombs an ELN encampment in southern Bolívar department. The think tank CERAC, which maintains a database of conflict events, finds this to be the security forces’ first offensive operation against the ELN in 63 days. (In May, though, CERAC records “11 non-violent security force operations in which at least 20 guerrillas were captured.”)
The ELN’s one-month unilateral ceasefire comes to an end. ELN negotiators who have been in Havana since talks broke down in January 2019 reiterate a demand that they be allowed to leave Cuba and re-enter Colombia. The Colombian think-tank CERAC, which maintains a database of conflict events, reports that it could not verifiably document a single offensive action by the ELN during this period, or indeed since March 12, 2020. It does note a few ELN aggressions during this period, but cannot state clearly whether the guerrilla group was the first to act in any of the cases.
Fearing COVID-19 infection, prisoners in Bogotá’s La Modelo penitentiary protested conditions. Government forces, claiming an attempt to escape, killed 23 prisoners and wounded many more. The next day, relatives of prisoners gathered outside its gates.