The bodies of 11 men and women who were assassinated by paramilitaries in the 1990s were discovered in northern Colombia, local media reported on Tuesday.
The remains were found on the grounds of the estate “La 35,” located in the village of El Tomate in the municipality of San Pedro de Uraba, where they had been murdered, according to Bogota’s Caracol Radio.
The estate was owned previously by Carlos Castaño, the infamous leader of the former paramilitary group the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC).
The remains were found in three separate graves; one contained six bodies, the second had four, and the last was found solo. The bodies are thought to be farmers from the northern region of Uraba, and remain unidentified, Caracol Radio reported.
The bodies were recovered through means of an an order from the Prosecutor General’s Office, in the Transitory Justice Exhumations branch.
Former member of the AUC, Jesus Ignacio Roldan Perez, alias “Monoleche,” provided the intel that led authorities to the bodies. Perez, a former confidante of the Castaño brothers Carlos and Vincente, has previously delivered information and evidence of their escapades to Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office.
Evidence gathered from investigators and Perez indicate that the victims were murdered and hidden between 1995 and 1998 by members of the “Casa Castaño,” the name given to the founding members of the AUC, Caracol Radio reported.
The remains of the bodies were transferred to the Center of Identity Verification of the Technical Investigation Team (CTI) located in Medellin.
The founders of the AUC, Fidel, Vicente and Carlos Castaño have all either mysteriously disappeared or been killed. The oldest brother Fidel, has not been seen since 1994 and his supposed assassination that year by Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, has not been confirmed. Both deaths of Carlos and Vicente are also shrouded in mystery and have even been connected to former President Alvaro Uribe who was accused by former AUC commander “El Aleman” for their murders.
Carlos was killed in 2004, his brother Vicente was convicted of the murder in 2011 before ex-President Uribe was accused of culpability for Carlos’ death. Vicente’s alleged motive was that Carlos was becoming critical of the organization’s dependence on the lucrative drug trade.
Vicente was supposedly killed in 2007; however, his death, like Fidel’s, has never been confirmed.
- Exhuman 11 restos de víctimas de la casa Castaño en Urabá (Caracol Radio)