The assassination of three police officers protecting disarmed FARC guerrillas in southwest Colombia has raised concerns both by police authorities and the new political party.
The members of the UNIPEP unit imposing state authority in the area around FARC reincorporation camps were assassinated in Miranda, Cauca.
The municipality in the coca-rich northern Cauca region has been disputed by a number of illegal armed groups vying for control over abandoned FARC territories.
Dissident FARC guerrillas, Marxist rebels of the ELN, and paramilitary groups AGC and Aguilas Negras have been highly active in the region.
The police and national army have had trouble assuming territorial control over abandoned FARC territory.
The primary suspect of the killing is the ELN, whose Milton Hernandez unit is active in the area. This would mean that ELN guerrillas were attacking police in charge of protecting the peace process.
The attack took place on Friday, two days before the first bilateral ceasefire between the ELN and the state since the guerrillas’ inception in 1964.
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According to newspaper El Espectador, authorities have informed the FARC over the alleged involvement of the ELN.
The ELN, however, has denied responsibility.
The second theory is that dissident FARC guerrillas, some of whom operate under the EPL banner, would have attacked the disarmed rebels’ guards.
These renegade rebels were also accused of attacking a United Nations convoy trying to recover a reported FARC weapons cache from the nearby municipality of Caloto.
FARC disarmament mission attacked in southwest Colombia: Police
In the Miranda camp are many dozens of former guerrillas waiting to take part in reincorporation activities overseen by unarmed UN observers.
The National Police’s second in command, General Ricardo Alberto Restrepo, said the investigation focused on FARC dissidents, the ELN and the EPL, but did not rule out paramilitary activity.
The Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AGC) has been accused of assassinating policemen throughout Colombia.
Colombia’s prosecution says AGC is four times bigger than police estimates
Both the AGC and the far-right Aguilas Negras have been accused of carrying out attacks against community leaders.
When the FARC tried to enter politics after a deal with former President Belisario Betancur (Conservative Party) in 1985, paramilitary groups of a previous generation assassinated thousands of political activists.
The FARC’s abandoned criminal activity gives all illegal armed groups a motive as the disarmed guerrillas’ fighter units would know the exact locations of local drug trafficking routes and illegal mines.