BOGOTA – At least seven people were murdered in a rural area outside Yarumal, a city in Colombia’s Antioquia province, where the National Liberation Army (ELN) rebel group and the Clan del Golfo gang operate, police said Monday.
The massacre occurred on Sunday night when four heavily armed subjects entered the Las Margaritas bar in the village of La Estrella, located outside Yarumal, and opened fire, Antioquia police commander Col. Mauricio Sierra told Blu Radio.
Investigators have not determined who staged the attack, but they are looking at whether the ELN or Clan del Golfo were involved, Sierra said.
The Clan del Golfo, which is involved in drug trafficking, traces its roots to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) militia federation, which demobilized more than 10 years ago.
Authorities are trying to identify the victims and find out whether any of them had criminal records, the police chief said.
On Sunday, President Juan Manuel Santos said Colombia’s chief negotiator in the peace talks with the ELN, Gustavo Bell, was returning to Ecuador in an effort to reach a cease-fire agreement and resume peace talks.
The peace process was suspended on Jan. 10 following a series of attacks staged by the rebels after the end of the 100-day cease-fire that started on Oct. 1.
The ELN, for its part, said that its representatives planned to meet with Bell on Monday in Quito to discuss a resumption of negotiations.