A 2002 video released by Colombia’s Reparation and Reconciliation Commission shows former army commander Mario Montoya surrounded by paramilitary fighters.
The video was released by newscast Noticias Uno, which reported that the video was shot one day after the massacre of Bojaya, in which FARC guerrillas killed 119 civilians who were hiding in a church while guerrillas and paramilitary forces were fighting over control of the town.
According to eyewitnesses, when Montoya, then commander of the army’s 4th Brigade, invited the inhabitants of Bojaya to return to their homes, he was surrounded by paramilitary fighters who had robbed the town’s houses and were wearing clothes belonging to the people in the town.
The leader of the paramilitaries in the region, Freddy Rendon alias “El Aleman,” has previously accused the army of collaborating with the paramilitary AUC in the region.
The Bojaya massacre took place in the same year that both the United States and the European Union determined the AUC a terrorist organization, because of the massacres committed by groups belonging to the umbrella organization and the group’s involvement in drug trafficking.
Two FARC guerrillas have been convicted for throwing the mortar that killed civilians in the church. Mario Montoya is currently Colombia’s ambassador to the Dominican Republic. The ambassador has always denied involvement with paramilitaries.