Diego Fernando Murillo Bejarano alias, “Don Berna,” gave his latest testimony from a prison cell in Miami, where he is serving a 31 year sentence for cocaine trafficking.
According to the testimony Jose Miguel Narvaez (former sub-director of now dismantled Colombian intelligence agency DAS) and AUC commander Carlos Castaño were the masterminds behind the 1994 kidnapping of then Colombian Senator Piedad Cordoba, for her perceived ties to the FARC (Colombia’s largest guerrilla group).
Don Berna said, “Narvaez wanted [the AUC] to kill her, to shoot her. He always thought anything left wing was dangerous for the country.”
According to the paramilitary, Castaño carried out the kidnapping and stopped short of murdering Cordoba. Which according to him, “could be why [Castaño] was later killed.”
The testimony also indicated Castaño in the kidnappings of Carlos Alonso Lucio in 2000 and the brother of ex-Minister of Interior Fabio Valencia Cossio in 2001.
The former congressman Lucio was negotiating peace talks between the ELN (Colombia’s second largest guerrilla group) and paramilitary groups. According to Don Berna many AUC commanders were against the process, spurring Castaño to kidnap Lucio.
Don Berna claimed that he and another AUC commander, Salvatore Mancuso, convinced Castaño to spare Lucio’s life and release him because Lucio “was a man committed to peace in the country.”
In the case of Cossio’s brother, Don Berna said Castaño decided to kidnap the interior minister’s brother because Castaño felt the minister had over stepped his mandate in negotiations with the FARC.
Castaño is believed to have been killed by his brother Vicente Castaño, who is also assumed dead.