Ex-army general Mario Montoya Uribe has been implicated in the massacre of eight people in the Peace Community of San Apartado, reported El Tiempo on Thursday.
Whilst on trial for the murder of eight citizens in September 2005, three colonels from the Colombian army’s 17th Brigade said that Montoya had been involved in tactical planning of “Operation Pheonix” – an operation officially intended to dismantle the Fifth Front of the guerrilla group FARC, but which ended in the massacre of civilians.
During the trial the court heard that the Colombian national army had hired paramilitaries as guides to lead soldiers to the FARC settlement, but they had instead gone to the homes of members of the local Peace Community. The soldiers entered the houses and tortured and killed the inhabitants.
The plan to hire paramilitary guides was attributed to General Montoya Uribe by the colonels on trial, thus implicating him in the crime.
This is not the first time Montoya has been accused of links to the paramilitary. Montoya was also investigated for involvement with paramilitary organization the AUC. Montoya, now ambassador to the Dominican Republic, has denied all allegations.
The San Apartado residents declared themselves a Peace Community in 1997 in an attempt to resist being drawn into Colombia’s ongoing armed conflict
The trial for the murder of members of the Peace Community is ongoing.