Paramilitary accountant assassinated

Manuel Bernal, the accountant of extradited paramilitary chief Salvatore Mancuso, was murdered in Bogota by unknown assassins, radio station La FM reported Wednesday.

Manuel Bernal had been Mancuso’s accountant for years and was still managing his finances, despite the former AUC head’s extradition to the United States to face drug trafficking charges.

According to the radio station, Bernal was one of Mancuso’s closest allies and possessed information about luxury homes, land and farms belonging to the AUC-head. These properties – estimated to be worth $5 million – are now believed to be in the hands of front men.

According to La FM, Bernal was murdered close to the main office of Colombia’s Prosecutor General in the Colombian capital “a few days ago,” just after Mancuso reiterated his intention to surrender his properties to the state so they can be used for victim compensation.

Bernal had been appointed by Mancuso to lead the authorities to these properties so they can be taken from their current front owners.

The murder takes place at a time that the national government is trying to have a Land Law approved by Congress. This law is intended to regulate the return of land that was stolen by paramilitaries to their rightful owners.

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