Judge orders suspension of payments to ‘fake guerrillas’

A Bogota judge ordered Sunday the cessation of payments to people who took part in an allegedly staged 2006 demobilization of FARC fighters.

According to Alejandro Eder, who heads the High Council for Reintegration, only 30 of the 66 allegedly fake guerrillas who took part in the ceremony are still taking part in a reintegration process. The remainder has either finished the program or has gone off the radar.

“Financial support is 320,000 pesos ($166) on average per month, provided that the person completes the path of integration. If they fail, they receive no financial support. The reintegration process can take up to six years,” said Alejandro Eder, who heads the High Council for Reintegration.

A total of 62 suspected guerrillas of the Cacica La Gaitana Front had laid down their arms in 2006, and although there was only a small number of those were considered to be members of the FARC, the court’s decision had been to grant financial aid to the entire group for the reintegration process.

According to Eder, of the 62 suspected guerrillas to demobilize, only 30 still remain in the reintegration program while 32 had either already completed it or were simply unaccounted for.

Authorities are investigating former army commander Mario Montoya, former Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo and FARC guerrilla “Olivo Saldaña” over the allegedly fake demobilization.

The Prosecutor General’s Office is investigating the claims of two imprisoned guerrillas, that surfaced in February, who stated that the government plotted with Saldaña and drug trafficker Hugo Alberto Rojas to recruit homeless and unemployed people and offer them between $280 and $450 (COP500,000-800,000) to train, live and act like FARC guerrillas, before “surrendering” to security forces.

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