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Army openly working with Death Squads

by Alfredo Castro

ANNCOL  8 September/ septembre 2002.
Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG),  Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation (CRM),  globalresearch.ca ,   September/ septembre 2002

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Since Colombian President Uribe declared a \"state of domestic commotion\" and assumed special powers one month ago the army has intensified its joint operations with right-wing paramilitary groups leaving a trail of blood across the country.

Reports coming in from human rights groups say that in three regions of Colombia; Boyaca, Meta and Caquetá departments, paramilitary death squads have arrived and begun new operations. In two of the places the Colombian army are working openly with them whilst in the third region the troops themselves are also actually the paramilitaries.

According to information from the ‘Joel Sierra’ Regional Committee for Human Rights paramilitaries are moving into the department of Boyaca with the assistance of the state security forces. The Committee says that on August 16th a company of counterinsurgency troops arrived in the municipality of Cubara under the command of Army Captain Caguana. They came from the direction of the municipality of Toledo and were attached to the 18th Brigade. After some days in the area on August 19th these troops began telling residents of the municipality that soon they would be facing the paramilitaries.

At dawn on August 22nd the same troops were seen painting graffiti on walls around the municipality saying things like “48 hours until the paramilitaries arrive” and “Death to Guerrilla Supporters.

Cubara is a little town in the mountains with a small population and there are only four ways into the area: the Saravena road, the Pamplona road, the Chuscal road and the Puerto Nuevo road. All of these roads have 24 hour military roadblocks. The town itself also now has a large number of troops in it.

According to the ‘Joel Sierra’ Regional Committee for Human Rights this type of situation involving the public security forces are not exceptional in this region. On August 10th a group of soldiers attached to the 27th Battalion that is assigned to protect the US operated Caño Limon-Coveñas oil pipeline, under the command of Sergeant Hernandez arrived in the Alto Satoka area of the municipality of Saravena. This patrol entered the community cooperative known as COAGROSARARE and stole food and liquor and then covered the building with graffiti saying “We are the AUC [death squad umbrella organisation], We have our eyes on you”.

In a statement received by ANNCOL the ‘Joel Sierra’ Committee says that: “This situation once again demonstrates that the so-called paramilitaries our in fact nothing more than the security forces. Similar things have been happening in Corocoro and Papayito where, using the cover of being paramilitaries, the military have assassinated, tortured and disappeared many peasants and others.”

Meanwhile, paramilitaries are also reported to have set up a camp near the police station and the army base in the town of Puerto Rico in the southern Caquetá department. In this area the security forces are openly working with the paramilitaries, terrorising the civilian population and saying that they will execute anyone that they think supports the rebels.

In Alto Ariari region in Meta department the paramilitaries have spent some weeks in the community of Puerto Esperanza from where they forcibly displaced the residents at the start of August. These paramilitaries appear to be setting up a secret base with the army although rebel forces are unable to attack easily as the air force is keeping the area under constant surveillance reinforced with helicopter gun-ships that attack the guerrillas whenever they come near.

Many of the civilians from the communities around Puerto Esperanza that have also been affected have fled into a rebel controlled zone although the air force is indiscriminately bombing that area putting their lives in danger.

 


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Global Outlook , Issue No 2   9-11: Foreknowledge or Deception? Stop the Nuclear Threat. Now available (for details click here) .

Order by phone from publisher. Call (toll free) 1-888-713-8500.

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