Police said Friday they have arrested one of the alleged regional commanders of neo-paramilitary group “Los Urabeños” in the northern Colombian city of Santa Marta.
“Belisario” for years has been alleged to be the commander of the Urabeños in the Caribbean tourism hotspot and the nearby Sierra Nevada.
The demobilized member of paramilitary organization AUC has been accused of coordinating a complete shut down of Santa Marta in January when the Urabeños banned all commercial activity and public transport in the north of Colombia to protest the killing of their top commander.
According to the police, the alleged Urabeños ringleader has also actively obstructed government attempts to return stolen land to its rightful owners by impeding local indigenous groups to return to their lands in the Sierra Nevada.
The Urabeños have come under increasing pressure in Santa Marta and the surrounding area as authorities and a local neo-paramilitary group called the “Oficina del Caribe” simultaneously began an offensive to expel the country’s largest neo-paramilitary organization from the city and the nearby villages.
Fighting between the groups has left dozens dead over the past few months while the police have arrested dozens of alleged members of the Urabeños over the past month.