Ex-AUC commander’s testimony to be used in Restrepo case

Testimony from former AUC leader Salvatore Mancuso could be used against fugitive ex-peace commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo, facing charges of faking a FARC demobilization, reported Caracol Radio Thursday.

Colombia’s Prosecutor General said Mancuso, as an ex-paramilitary involved in the demobilization process, was in a unique position to shed light on the scandal, in which Restrepo is alleged to have conspired to create a fake FARC front which then surrendered to authorities.

The former AUC commander has been speaking to prosecutors over the last few days about the alleged false demobilization. Though the content of his testimony remains unknown, it is being taken “very seriously,” said a spokesman.

Restrepo is accused alongside imprisoned FARC guerrilla “Olivo Saldaña,” members of the Colombian army and drug trafficker Hugo Rojas Yepez, of paying homeless and unemployed people in the central Tolima department $278 each to train, live and act like FARC guerrillas, then “demobilize.”

Restrepo fled Colombia before a warrant for his arrest was issued. He recently called upon loyalists to former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe to turn against President Juan Manuel Santos. Uribe has continuously supported Restrepo, calling him a victim of “criminal vengeance,” and maintaining he does not know Restrepo’s whereabouts.

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