Colombia’s chief prosecutor closed a prosecution office in the north of the country after paramilitaries allegedly kidnapped three officials for interrogation.
In a press release, Prosecutor General Francisco Barbosa said that 12 heavily armed members of paramilitary organization AGC kidnapped three prosecutors in the north of the Antioquia province on Saturday.
According to Barbosa, the prosecutors were kidnapped while traveling from Taraza to Medellin, the capital of Antioquia.
The chief prosecutor said that the kidnapped prosecutors were in charge of investigations into AGC activity in the Bajo Cauca region.
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The prosecutors testified that they passed three police and military checkpoints without problem while their captors drove them to an undisclosed site where they were subsequently interrogated.
According to Barbosa, the AGC’s commander in Bajo Cauca, “Gonzalito,” took part in the interrogations.
The AGC designated Gonzalito as one of the paramilitaries’ 16 delegates to negotiate their possible demobilization with the government of President Gustavo Petro.
The chief prosecutor previously has refused to lift the arrest warrants of Gonzalito and the other AGC delegates, claiming that the government wasn’t authorized to negotiate with the AGC.
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Congress last year authorized negotiations between the government and Colombia’s largest paramilitary organization.
Barbosa said that he would temporarily close the Taraza prosecution office and would summon the regional police and military commanders over the alleged failures to provide security in Antioquia.
The police and the army didn’t immediately confirm the alleged kidnapping of the prosecution officials.
The chief prosecutor is one of the main opponents of the government’s “Total Peace” policy, which seeks to negotiate a peace deal with guerrilla group ELN and the demobilization of multiple other illegal armed groups, including the AGC.