Former FARC guerrilla “Olivo Saldaña” says he is to blame for the staged 2006 demobilization of 62 fake guerrillas, claiming former peace commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo, who fled the country amid the scandal, is innocent.
The former guerrilla is accused of having set up the fake demobilization with Restrepo, drug traffickers and members of the military to receive legal and financial benefits and add political currency to the then-increasingly controversial demobilization of paramilitary groups.
But according to Saldaña, he solely “deceived Restrepo and the armed forces because we inflated the number of demobilized men.”
The former guerrilla, who until the scandal broke was living freely with benefits granted by the administration of former President Alvaro Uribe, defended the former president’s peace commissioner, saying “we can not allow the name of a person who has nothing to do with this to be tarnished.”
Saldaña’s testimony goes against that of three of his accomplices, who have accused the former peace commissioner of having been aware that the demobilized FARC front never existed.
Restrepo, who has also been accused of inflating the number of paramilitary fighters who demobilized between 2003 and 2006, fled the country before being charged by Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office. According to authorities, his whereabouts are unknown.