The investigation into the alleged assassination plot against FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, a.k.a. “Timochenko,” has been transferred to a special investigation unit amid suspicions authorities made it up.
The doubts arose after evidence contradicted claims made by Interior Minister Nancy Patricia Gutierrez and National Police director Oscar Atehortua who announced the alleged assassination plot on January 12.
According to the two officials, two FARC members were killed on January 11 while they were on their way to the former rebel commander’s farm after having received orders from rearmed FARC guerrilla “El Paisa” in Venezuela in December.
Londoño warned a month ahead of the incident
Initially nobody doubted the veracity of the assassination attempt, particularly because Londoño had been warned about an alleged assassination plot in advance and was receiving increased protection.
Senator Carlos Lozada confirmed the assassination attempt, but urged not to jump to conclusions about who was behind it, evidently suspicious about the conspiracy theory.
Two days after the announcement, rearmed former FARC guerrilla “Romaña” said in a press statement that El Paisa “has nothing to do with the attack on our comrade.”
The initial doubts
The first real question was raised by the girlfriend of one of the alleged assassins, Gerson Morales, who showed prosecutors a Whatsapp message of her boyfriend writing to her just after 5PM on January 11: “Honey, I’ll write to you in a bit. The police are here.”
The former guerrilla was a members of the National Protection Unit (UNP) as part of his reintegration process and often worked with police.
Two hours later, the demobilized guerrilla was allegedly killed in the alleged botched assassination attempt carrying a weapon that was not part of the UNP’s arsenal, reported El Espectador.
Further suspicions arose when photos indicated that the body of Ricaurte, who took part in a coca eradication program in southern Colombia, seemed to be in a more advanced state of decomposition than the official version of his death would suggest.
This difference suggests that the death of both occurred in different circumstances and at different times.
Defense attorney of the former guerrillas’ families
“Which of the three?”
When the families of the victims went to pick up the belongings of the two men, the sister of Ricaurte overheard a prosecutor ask “which of the three?’
Despite having been riddled by bullets, Morales’ rucksack did not have one bloodstain when it was surrendered. Ricaurte’s rucksack, which did have holes, was still under investigation.
Because the photos also indicated both men showed signs of torture, the families filed criminal charges before the special prosecution unit that exclusively investigates the killings of FARC members and social leaders.
By that time also Londoño and other members of his political party openly expressed their doubts about the initial version.
Weekly Semana added another question that requires an answer. If Police Intelligence found out about the alleged plot in December already, why did one Police Intelligence official testify he did not know the killed men were FARC guerrillas until after their death?
These answers will have to be provided by the Special Investigation Unit that has been investigating the killings of more than 170 demobilized FARC members since the peace process kicked off in December 2016.