In a press release, the National Protection Unit (UNP) said Sunday that Santrich had disappeared from the Tierra Grata Education and Reintegration Space in Los Robles La Paz in the northern Cesar department.
Santrich “visiting one of his kids”
The UNP said that the virtually blind former guerrilla chief left a note for his bodyguards in the cabin where he was staying, saying he would spend the night with one of his children in the nearby city of Valledupar.
“The authorities are checking the veracity of this note,” the UNP said.
The UNP chief asked the Santrich “to immediately contact this office or the members of his security team.”
Gonzalez asked the FARC to help locate their faction leader in the House of Representatives in order to give him “the necessary protection measures granted to Mr. Santrich as congressman.”
Like any other FARC member, Santrich is free to go where he pleases after the Supreme Court released him from jail where he was held more than a year over a so-far unsubstantiated extradition request.
Authorities are likely nervous because the former guerrilla chief is expected to appear before the high court on July 9 and disappeared at less than 20 miles from the Venezuelan border.
Santrich and the FARC have always claimed he was “framed” by the DEA and former chief prosecutor Nestor Humberto Martinez, who are now investigated over misconduct.
So far, the former guerrilla chief has met all his obligations both with the Supreme Court and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) that is investigating war crimes committed by the FARC and the military during the armed conflict.
The FARC did not immediately respond to the alleged disappearance of one of their top leaders.