Officials in the north of Colombia on Saturday arrested a state governor for alleged collaboration with right-wing (neo-)paramilitaries and suspected involvement in three murders.
Guajira state Governor Francisco Gomez, also known as “Kiko Gomez,” was under treatment at a clinic for unspecified health problems Sunday following his arrest.
The arrest itself turned violent as bodyguards and presumed supporters of the governor attacked prosecution officials taking the politician in custody while at a local fair.
A deputy prosecutor told reporters on Saturday that Gomez is believed linked to paramilitary groups led by AUC commanders Rodrigo Tovar and Salvatore Mancuso and is being investigated in three killings, the most recent in 2000.
Mancuso and Tovar were extradited to the United States on drug trafficking charges in 2008.
The governor was also named by political investigators as the presumed mastermind behind an alleged plot to assassinate them for exposing possible links between Gomez and the “Urabeños,” a neo-paramilitary formed from the AUC.
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Colombia’s paramilitaries were created in the 1980s by drug traffickers and ranchers to counter leftist rebel kidnapping and extortion. But they evolved into drug-trafficking gangs. Dozens of Colombian politicians have been imprisoned on charges of ties to the gangs.
FACT SHEET: Parapolitics