Colombian illegal armed groups are recruiting demobilized paramilitaries to work as mercenaries in Honduras, several Colombian media reported Monday.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, some Honduran business people are hiring Colombian former paramilitaries to strengthen their security against urban gangs.
According to the news report the drafting is taking place in ‘El Japon’, an estate seized from a drug trafficker by antinarcotics authorities in the Magdalena Medio valley. The report says some demobilized paramilitary lieutenants are engaging former paramilitary combatants of the disarmed paramilitary organization AUC to serve as security personnel in Honduras.
Colombian police say ‘Los Rastrojos’, the drug gang that inherited the drug trade from the Norte del Valle cartel, was reported recruiting demobilized paramilitaries in the vicinity of ‘El Japon’, where the alleged recruitment of mercenaries would be taking place.
“We do not rule out that ‘Los Rastrojos’ are the ones involved in the Honduran case. We will investigate,” Police Colonel Ricardo Restrepo said.
Colombian migration authorities said no significant increase of Colombian travelers to Honduras has been reported, but they do not rule out the possibility that the alleged mercenaries arrive in Honduras through connections in other Central American countries.
Hernan Bermudez, Honduran ambassador to Colombia said that his country’s armed forces have total control of the Honduran territory. He also said that the Honduran intelligence authorities do not report the presence of paramilitary in their country.
Anti-coup organizations in Honduras, on the other, had denounced the foreign presence of paramilitary mercenaries in the Honduran provinces of San Pedro and Santa Barbara.
Honduran politics is in unrest since the military coup in June. Many Hondurans oppose the coup, while the international community has requested the return of deposed President Manuel Zelaya to power.