‘Operation Orion’, the controversial counterinsurgency operation in
Medellin in 2002, was carried out by authorities only and did not
receive paramilitary support, retired Police commander Leonardo Gallego
Demobilized and extradited paramilitary leader ‘Don Berna’, confessing his crimes before a ‘Justice and Peace’ prosecutor and an audience of victims, Tuesday testified his Cacique Nutibara bloc supported the operation to eliminate guerrilla presence in Medellín’s comuna 13 neighborhood.
According to the paramilitary leader, Elkin ‘El Negro’ Loaiza, one of the AUC’s commanders, met with military and police officials to coordinate the operation months before it was carried out and that Gallego and former military commander and current ambassador in the Dominican Republic Mario Montoya aligned with the paramilitaries to carry out the operation.
In the operation 68 people went missing, one minor was executed, 38
civilians were injured by bullets and 355 of the neighborhood’s
inhabitants were illegally detained, NGOs say. Inhabitants from the neighborhood have testified paramilitary fighters took part in the operation.
But Gallego told journalists that the operation was legitimate and that ‘Don Berna’s’ allegations were “false and deceitful” and that proof of this are the testimonies by members of thearmed forces.