Former rebel among five killed in Colombia

December 27th, 2008 - 3:51 am ICT by IANS  

Bogota, Dec 27 (DPA) Five people including a former rebel have been shot dead in northwesten Colombia, local media reported Friday quoting police.The people were killed on Christmas day as they were driving to their country house in Arauca province. The police suspect the killings to be the work of the National Liberation Army or ELN.

One of the victims was a former ELN member and had recently entered a government rehabilitation programme, said regional police chief Luis Antonio Ortiz.

Four of the victims were from the same family, while the fifth was a friend travelling with them. Two others were injured.

The ELN is smaller than the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and both leftist groups are active in Arauca.

Colombia has been plagued for more than 40 years by a bloody armed conflict between rebels and the central government, in which ideological issues mix with others linked to the lucrative drug trade.

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