Members of Colombia’s Technical Investigation Corps exhumed five bodies belonging to victims of the armed conflict in two different northern states, the country’s prosecutor general announced on Monday.
Four human remains were found in Colombia’s northwest state of Caldas and one was found in the northern state of Antioquia. According to the prosecutor general’s statement, the bodies are believed to belong to victims of illegal armed groups.
Two of the bodies exhumed in Caldas were not able to be identified; however, authorities said that there are indications showing that the bodies were victims of the conflict between the “Autodefensas Campesinas del Magdalena Medio” (ACMM), a branch of the now-defunct paramilitary group, the AUC, and drug lord Pablo Escobar‘s Medellin Cartel.
FACT SHEET: AUC (United Self Defense Forces of Colombia)
“According to information provided by some tenets of the Justice and Peace [program], the victims perished in 1989 in fighting between the ‘Autodefensas Campesinas del Magdalena Medio’ and the Medellin Cartel headed by Pablo Escobar and Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha,” the prosecutor general’s statement read.
The late 1980s was marked by brutal violence perpetuated by paramilitary groups, guerrillas, drug cartels, and the Colombian government, which continued throughout the 1990s.
When Escobar started his war against the state, he proposed that paramilitaries from the ACMM join forces with his Medellin Cartel and fight against the enemy together, according to news publication Verdad Abierta, which specializes in Colombia’s armed conflict.
However, the ACMM refused to collaborate with the drug lord and instead they began fighting against each other.
FACT SHEET: Pablo Escobar
The conflict between the paramilitaries and the drug cartels left many collateral victims, the perpetrators massacring civilians and innocent people.
The other two bodies that were found in a different municipality of Caldas have been identified as 42-year-old Gustavo Castro Esguerra and 16-year-old Jaider Alonso Prada Rojas.
According to the prosecutor general, “[the two victims] have been killed by the Autodefensas Campesinas del Magdalena Medio occurring in 2003 at the hands of alias ‘El Gurre.'”
Walter Ochoa Guisao, alias El Gurre, was the commander of the paramilitary Omar Isaza Front created in 2000, according to Verdad Abierta.
Under the command of El Gurre, the paramilitary group committed massacres and other criminal activities in the states of Boyacá, Tolima, and Caldas.
The fifth body found was exhumed in the northern state of Antioquia, and it belonged to Alirio Zapata, aged 25, who had been reported missing since May 31.
- Exhuman cinco cuerpos en Antioquia y Caldas (General Prosecutor’s Office)
- ‘El Gurre’ reconoce responsabilidad en varias masacres en Tolima (Verdad Abierta)
- La otra guerra de Pablo Escobar (Verdad Abierta)