Foreign Ministry Issues Colombia Travel Warning

Rebels of the National Liberation Army (ELN) hold a banner in the northwestern jungles in Colombia. (Reuters/Federico Rios, File)

The Foreign Ministry has issued a travel warning for Israelis visiting Colombia. The warning was issued in the wake of high crime and terror activity that has been reported in the country recently. “Visitors should take into account that in several areas of the country there is a danger of terror and crime,” the warning issued over the weekend said. Israelis could face “violence, murder, attacks, armed robbery, organized criminal activity, kidnapping, demands for ransom and more,” the warning said.

The main culprit, the Foreign Ministry said, was the Colombian ELN (National Liberation Army) group, a group of Marxist rebels who have conducted numerous attacks against targets in the country, and against visitors. The State Department has listed the ELN as a terrorist group, and it has conducted numerous kidnappings in order to raise money for its activities, officials said. Much of its recent activity has been targeted at tourist areas, the Ministry said.

The Ministry advises visitors to the country to “pay attention to their surroundings, to follow events in the local media, to adjust their travel routes in line with local law enforcement recommendations, and to keep the Israeli embassy abreast of their location.” The Ministry also advised travelers to stay away from hostels or other gathering sites that are identified with foreigners, and with Israelis.” The Ministry added that in the event of a problem, it would try to help, but “responsibility for visitors to the country is theirs alone.”

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