HomeNewsBriefColombian Forces Kill ELN Guerrilla Behind 1999 Plane Hijacking
BRIEF

Colombian Forces Kill ELN Guerrilla Behind 1999 Plane Hijacking

COLOMBIA / 22 DEC 2011 BY RONAN GRAHAM EN

Colombia's military reported killing seven rebels from the ELN guerrilla group, including a commander known as "La Negra Yesenia," who was the mastermind behind the hijacking of a commercial airliner in 1999.

According to Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon, the military killed Maria Orlinda Guerrero, alias "La Negra Yesenia," along with at least six other militants in a bombing raid against the group's Dario Ramirez Castro Column. The operation took place in an area known as Lomas del Juncal, in the northern Bolivar province.

The security forces reportedly uncovered AK-47 rifles, grenades, computers and USB sticks at the rebel base, which will be handed to the intelligence services for investigation.

Guerrero served as a regional commander of the ELN, gaining notoriety for her role as the author of the hijacking of an Avianca plane in 1999 (see image, above). Pinzon described the rebel commander as "one of the most violent people" in the ELN.

During the hijacking, a group of ELN rebels forced an Avianca pilot to make an emergency landing at an airstrip in the jungle in Bolivar. Once the aircraft had landed, the 41 passengers and five crew members on board were taken hostage. One died in captivity, while the remainder were released over the following months.

See RCN's video report on the hijacking below, with footage of the hijacked plane landed the jungle.

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