On March 7, 2006, 66 guerrillas from the FARC’s Cacica Gaitana Front supposedly demobilized, and then-President Alvaro Uribe, gave incarcerated FARC member, alias “Olivo Saldaña,” the title of “Manager of Peace” for organizing the surrender.
Two incarcerated FARC guerrillas are claiming that the government plotted with Olivo Saldaña and drug trafficker Hugo Alberto Rojas Yepez to recruit homeless and unemployed people from the Tolima department and offer them COP500,000 to train, live and act like FARC guerrillas, then surrender to security forces.
According to the two guerrillas, who are under tight security in prison, then-Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo ordered then-commander of the Army’s 6th Brigade, General Lelio Suarez Tocarruncho, to visit Olivo Saldaña in jail where they discussed plans to demobilize a FARC front.
La F.M. reported that the guerrillas testified that Olivo Saldaña offered drug trafficker Hugo Alberto Rojas Yepez an opportunity to receive benefits from the Justice and Peace Law and avoid extradition to the U.S. if he funded the plan for demobilization. The Justice and Peace Law governed the demobilization of paramilitaries, providing them with financial aid and reduced jail sentences.
Rojas Yepez allegedly paid the organizers COP2 billion to recruit and train homeless and unemployed people to learn FARC communications, signals and rules as well as handle weapons to make them appear to be guerrillas.
The army reportedly escorted Olivo Saldaña out of prison to visit training grounds for these FARC impostors to check on their progress. The training period lasted one and a half months said those testifying.
On March 7, 2006, 66 purported guerrillas surrendered to the security forces.
In August of 2006 Hugo Alberto Rojas Yepez was extradited to the United States.
The prosecutor general is investigating the alleged demobilization hoax.
Restrepo is also under investigation for allegedly allowing people to circumvent the requirements of demobilization and thus continue operating as either paramilitaries or guerrillas.