Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos ordered an intensified offensive on National Liberation Army (ELN) after the guerrillas’ ambush that killed 11 soldiers and a police officer.
The ELN ambush occurred when rebels laid an explosive device on a rural road in Boyaca Department, one of the regions where local and departmental elections were held on Sunday.
“I have ordered the Defense Ministry and armed forces to redouble efforts and intensify the military strategy against the ELN,” Santos’ office tweeted late Monday.
Santos was later quoted as saying “the message is clear: we will face them with all the power of armed forces.”
The slain law enforcement official and 11 soldiers, in addition to three wounded soldiers and additional five officials declared missing, were involved in maintaining security at the local ballot stations.
The ELN is the second-largest rebel group in Colombia after FARC, with whom the Colombian government signed a legal justice deal for crimes committed during the decades-long armed conflict in the country.