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Security Alert: Reminder – Presence of Terrorist and Transnational Criminal Organizations
May 12, 2023

U.S. Embassy Bogota

May 12, 2023

Security Alert:  Reminder – Presence of Terrorist and Transnational Criminal Organizations

The U.S. Embassy in Bogota reminds U.S. citizens of the presence of terrorist and transnational criminal organizations within parts of Colombia.  U.S. citizens should always be alert to the possibility that extremists may conduct attacks at any place and at any time with little or no warning.  Always remain vigilant, maintain heightened situational awareness, and incorporate strong personal security practices into their daily activities.

Below are recent security incidents to be aware of:

On May 11, a Colombian National Police officer was shot and killed by a sniper in El Tarra, Norte de Santander.  Initial reports suggest a Designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, the National Liberation Army (ELN), was responsible.

On May 4, a dual American-Swedish national was released by the ELN after being held captive in the Catatumbo region for more than sixty days.  This hostage taking occurred while the ELN and the Government of Colombia are conducting peace negotiations.

On April 29, security forces seized approximately one ton of explosives in Bogota.  According to security contacts, the explosives were to be used by terrorist/criminal organizations to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs) for attacks against police and military units outside of Bogota.

Since the start of 2023, the ELN has repeatedly carried out IED attacks against oil infrastructure in the Arauca and Santander Departments.

Incidents of violence against Colombian Security Forces and between illegally armed groups continue to occur on a regular basis in traditionally high-risk areas of the country.

The U.S. Embassy closely tracks these types of incidents and will keep U.S. citizens apprised of new developments.

Actions to Take: 

  • Monitor local media for updates.
  • Exercise vigilance.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.