Members of the Colombian Catholic church will meet with representatives from three criminal bands to define the conditions necessary for turning in the leaders of these groups to authorities, a church member told newspaper El Tiempo.
The church members are working to obtain the handing over of aliases “Comba” and “Valenciano.” According to Caracol Radio, the men are the heads of criminal bands “Los Urabeños“, “Los Rastrojos” and “Los Paisas,” which operate in the Antioquia and Valle del Cauca departments.
“It is not a negotiation, but rather a submission,” explained a church member, adding that the three groups have maintained communication with the church since February, when they initiated contacts.
President Juan Manuel Santos, meanwhile, has said that his administration will not negotiate with the bands, and denied that the Prosecutor General’s Office is linked to any negotiations currently occurring between the criminal groups and the Catholic church.
Colombian Ambassador to the Vatican in Italy Cesar Mauricio Velasquez also denied any involvement in the negotiations, stating, “I don’t have any information and I have not participated in anything related to the matter.”