Girls Interrupted - Teenage fighters of the ELN

 

After the FARC gave up their weapons in mid 2017, the ELN is the last armed rebel group in Colombia. As politicians and media talk peace, the ELN is preparing for war, dangling love and justice to recruit teenagers into their ranks. In remote camps in the eastern department Chocó, they are trained to fight, as the ceasefire with the government ended in early January.

The motivation for these teenagers goes beyond a political ideology. Due to a lack of opportunities many see it as the only way to leave their homes, escape domestic violence or in search for a sense in their lives.

Daily life in these camps might look like a summer camp, but their unwitting role in a complex political situation is much more sinister. The ELN is 2000-2500 strong, and judging by the speeches made to groups of children as young as 8, there are no plans to lay down their weapons.