Colombia’s former army commander, retired General Mario Montoya, will have to appear before prosecutors to explain an allegedly fake demobilization of FARC fighters in 2006.
The Prosecutor general’s Office is investigating if there is enough merit to charge the controversial former army commander — Montoya has also been accused of having collaborated with paramilitary forces — with the apparently fraudulent demobilization of 70 members of the “Cacique la Gaitana” front, of which the existence has been denied by both authorities and the FARC.
According to former guerrillas,government officials plotted with imprisoned FARC guerrilla “Olivo Saldaña” and a drug trafficker to gather homeless and unemployed people from the Tolima department, offer them COP500,000 to train, live and act like FARC guerrillas, then surrender to security forces.
According to the testimonies, the army arranged the release of Saldaña and united the guerrilla with the fake guerrilla front.
The accusations led to questions by the U.S. government shortly after the demobilization, forced the government to suspend special benefits granted to Saldaña. Former Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo, who was responsible for the demobilization of the AUC and members of other illegal armed groups during the administration of former President Alvaro Uribe, was called for questioning in February.
The Colombian army and the Uribe administration are involved in several scandals regarding the inflation of successes in the Colombian state’s fight against illegal armed groups. The Prosecutor General’s Office is investigating the death of some 2,000 civilians who allegedly were killed to be registered as guerrillas killed in combat and demobilized paramilitaries have said that several demobilizations of paramilitary groups were faked.