The army arrested the mayor of a central Colombian town and 12 others for alleged ties to rebel group FARC on Sunday.
The mayor of La Uribe, Marcelino Chacon, was arrested together with a member of he city council and eleven others.
The arrest was announced by the army in a press release and later confirmed by Chacon in a text message to newspaper El Espectador.
According to the army, the suspects were arrested because they are suspected to make part of the local support network of the FARC’s Eastern Bloc. Chacon told the newspaper he did not know why he had been arrested.
Colombian news agency Colprensa reported the suspects would be taken to the town of Granada, like La Uribe located in the Meta department, to be charged.
El Espectador said the suspects will be charges for rebellion, a common charge for alleged members or collaborators of the country’s largest rebel group.
The military units of the FARC, determined a terrorist organization by Colombia, the U.S. and Europe, are often supported by a network of local civilian sympathizers who inform the guerrillas on the location of army or police units or when security forces are moving around.
La Uribe is one of the FARC’s traditional stronghold and was long considered a no-go area for Colombian state authorities.
Ties between politicians and illegal armed groups are not uncommon in Colombia; since 2006, more than six governors and 30 congressmen have been sentenced for their ties to now-defunct paramilitary organization AUC.
La Uribe, Meta
- Ejército capturó al alcalde de Uribe, Meta junto a otras 12 personas (Colprensa)
- Capturado alcalde de La Uribe (El Espectador)