The army allowed paramilitary group the AUC to take over a
guerrilla-riddled region north-east Colombia, an ex army Major told the
Prosecutor General. During its seven year
occupation of the area the AUC allegedly committed more than 60
massacres and displaced 20,000 Colombians.
Ex Major Mauricio Llorente — sentenced to 40 years in prison for his implication in these crimes — told Semana.com that the army, the Prosecutor General’s office and the DAS made a deal with the AUC to give the paramilitary organization access to the FARC dominated region of Catatumbo.
Between 1998 and 2005 the AUC allegedly assassinated over 10,000 people in the region.
According to the Prosecutor General, demobilized paramilitaries from this block have confessed to over 4,000 crimes under the Justice and Peace law.
Llorente was a commander of the 46th Anti-Guerrilla Battalion. He alleges that ex General Mario Fernando Roa ordered army cooperation with a network of paramilitaries that included ‘David’, the nephew of Salvatore Mancuso, an extradited paramilitary leader. Mancuso himself has alluded to ties between Colombia’s military and the AUC.
Llorente’s testimony will be evaluated by the Prosecutor General to determine whether it warrants further investigation.
Semana.com reported that the Prosecutor General considers Llorente’s testimony to be reliable because it coincides with information supplied by demobilized paramilitaries.