Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia Farc and ELN rebels agree election-time truce

File photo: Colombian soldiers conduct a patrol across a field in a mountainous area in Miranda, Cauca department, Colombia, 18 January 2012 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The government says it will only stop military operations after a peace deal is agreed

Two major rebel groups in Colombia have announced a unilateral truce with the government during the forthcoming presidential election.

The Farc and the ELN will halt attacks from 20 to 28 May. The election is scheduled for 25 May.

The government has been in peace talks with the Farc since 2012, but has refused to stop fighting the rebels.

The talks aim to end five decades of an conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people in Colombia.

The Army of National Liberation (ELN) is not taking part in the peace talks, but has also agreed to temporarily stop fighting the government.

"We are ordering all of our units to cease any offensive military action against the armed forces or the economic infrastructure [from 20 May to 28 May]," Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) delegate Pablo Catatumbo told reporters in Havana, where the peace talks are talking place.

"We do it as a light of hope for a bilateral ceasefire."

President Juan Manuel Santos, who is seeking re-election, has come under attack for launching peace talks with the Farc.

The talks began in November 2012. The Farc has announced two short-term unilateral ceasefires since then, but both were eventually ended.

The Colombian government has always made it clear that it will only stop military operations once a peace deal has been signed.

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