least 7,000 members of illegal groups rearmed because the Colombian government had left them alone, former paramilitary leader ‘El Iguano’ said Tuesday.
According to Radio Caracol, Jorge Iván Laverde Zapata, alias ‘El Iguano’, asked the Supreme Court to intervene because authorities left many members of self-defense groups, who were not part of the command, on their own.
“At this moment there are a lot of armed people because of the State’s failure. Why did they leave those guy to their own luck? They are peasants. We are not born as criminals, we are cultivating the land. We had to take guns to defend our lives. What happens is that [the people] from the city do not know what happens on the fields,” ‘El Iguano said.
The former paramilitary leader had to appear before the Supreme Court as a witness at the trial against Senator Elcure Ricardo Chacon. The Senator allegedly received help from paramilitary groups for his candidacy as Governor of Santander in 2003.
According to government figures, in between 2,500 and 3,000 former members of the AUC rearmed.
Paramilitary organization AUC demobilized in 2006 and 2007. The organization had more than 20,000 members and is held responsible for an equal amount of murders.