The Colombian Inspector General’s office cites testimony as evidence of a “permanent link” between paramilitary group “Heroes de Tolova” and local authorities in the Uruba region of the Antioquia department in 2005, reports El Espectador.
“A while back there was a permanent link between the illegal group and military personnel, and of course it was not mere coincidence that they would have met the members of the illegal armed group during the operation… It is concluded that this had to have been orchestrated from before the army personnel left for New Antioquia,” said Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez.
Ordoñez gave credibility to statements from former paramilitaries and soldiers, who testified that they were aware of a working relationship between the two bodies.
Former Heroes de Tolova paramilitary, Jorge Luis Salgado David alias “Kiko,” testified that a civilian known as “Alexis” had been commissioned to act as liaison between the police and army to ensure the success of military operations in the region.
“He was [also] a communication link between the illegal group and armed forces, keeping ourselves and themselves informed of developments, sometimes they warned us when the helicopter was coming, so we could move on or camouflage ourselves,” said Kiko.
The Inspector General’s office also said that Kiko had testified that members of the army used paramilitary “Raton”, who belonged to the Bloque Bananeros as a guide, due to his knowledge of the area.
The Heroes de Tolova group was responsible for the San Jose de Apartado massacre, in which five men and three children were tortured and dismembered.
In March a former Colombian army captain was sentenced to 20 years in jail for his part in the 2005 massacre.