Colombian police have captured three alleged ELN members accused of assassinating Judge Gloria Constanza Gaona, stating that the perpetrators were aiming to discredit national security forces, El Colombiano reported Monday.
The murdered judge had been placed in charge of a high-profile case in which three young children were raped, tortured and killed in the eastern department of Arauca in 2010. Members of the military have been suspected of the three murders, with over 60 being questioned, and the children’s father accused authorities of a cover-up.
Gaona’s assassination on March 22 was initially thought to be linked to the child murder case, but General Carlos Ramiro Mena, director of the police judicial and intelligence branch DIJIN, said yesterday that the murder was instead an ELN ploy to discredit national forces.
“The goal was to cause damage on an international level, which at the time managed to discredit the security forces. However, we are making it absolutely clear that the perpetrators are members of the ELN,” he said.
The killing is alleged to have been ordered by alias “David,” a key figure in the “Ernesto Che Guevara” commission of the ELN’s Domingo Lain Front, and one of the most sought after people in the departments of Valle del Cauca, Cauca and Nariño.
In a press statement released over the weekend, Santos commended the work of the police forces for having “solved this crime as promised, and in a rather short time.”
He further welcomed the development, stating that it appears to prove that “all these insinuations that were pointed towards our police forces are completely distorted.”
The three suspects were captured in Arauca and have since been transferred to Bogota’s La Picota prison where they will await trial.