A former mid-level commander of the paramilitary AUC has been assassinated in Medellin, reportedly three weeks after his release from prison where he spent eight years after admitting to 230 war crimes, authorities said Sunday.
Medellin police commander General Jose Gerardo Acevedo told press that the former commander of the AUC’s Calima Bloc, alias “Sancocho,” on Saturday was assassinated in Moravia, a poor neighborhood in the northeast of the city and led by “HH.”
Two men who were near the former paramilitary commander were purposely killed in the shooting.
The former paramilitary had completed his reduced penalty of eight years in prison after being convicted for 231 war crimes. Among the crimes were the killing of union leaders, indigenous and farmers’ rights leaders accused by the AUC of supporting leftist rebel group FARC.
Convicted paramilitaries released
Three weeks ago, Sancocho became the first former paramilitary commander to be released from prison. On Saturday, he became the first to be assassinated.
Some 160 former leaders of the AUC are set to be released in the coming three years if prosecutors confirm they have adequately tried to collaborate with justice and have compensated their victims.
Forty-seven of them had been asking for their immediate release since July last year.
A prosecutor told Colombia Reports then that only five requests had been approved, one being that of Sancocho.
Old-school war lords returning to Medellin
The release of the paramilitaries — who ran Medellin’s underworld between approximately 2001 and 2006, and considerable international drug trafficking routes between the 1990s until their demobilization — came only months after the release of “Popeye,” the former right-hand man of Pablo Escobar who ran the Medellin Cartel from the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s.
According to Noticias Uno, Popeye has taken Colombia’s most famous drug lord ever at the head of the Medellin Cartel’s old enforcer army, the Oficina de Envigado.
After the extradition of “Don Berna,” the paramilitary leader who had inherited Escobar’s Oficina de Envigado crime syndicate after the drug lord’s death, a new generation of commanders began vying for the top post, forcing a major turf war in the city between 2008 and 2010.
After local militias and the neo-paramilitary group “Los Urabeños,” also existing of new-generation paramilitary frontmen, closed a pact in 2011, homicide statistics in Medellin dropped significantly.