A paramilitary commander accused of hundreds of murders in northwest Colombia says he was supported by local politicians, police and the military, it was reported Monday.
Fredy Rendon Herrera, alias “El Aleman,” recently testified to a court in Medellin that the authorities supported his “Elmer Cardenas Bloc” on the grounds that the paramilitaries were combating left wing guerrillas, according to website Verdad Abierta.
El Aleman, currently in prison for the murder of a minor executed by him and his men, said he and his group had a “non-aggression” agreement with authorities in the Uraba region that made the group effectively immune from prosecution for their crimes.
The former paramilitary commander said he contacted each new police and military commander who came to the areas under his control to ensure the free movement and actions of his men. City mayors even provided groceries to support the paramilitary group and looked to him for help at election time, he said.
According to El Aleman, his men fought next to the national army and police against the FARC, sharing ammunition and other supplies. Meanwhile, he claimed the Atrato River that flows through the region became a “cemetery” for dumping the bodies of those murderd by the group.
According to the Diocese of Quibdo, El Aleman’s paramilitary group killed at least 600 civilians and displaced some 20,000 people. The Colombian NGO La Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz has claimed the Elmer Cardenas Bloc committed more than 110 crimes against humanity.