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Mon Oct 8, 2012, 09:46 PM

Colombia militia boss 'Martin Llanos' confesses murders

Source: BBC News

8 October 2012 Last updated at 19:41 ET
Colombia militia boss 'Martin Llanos' confesses murders

A paramilitary leader in Colombia has confessed to participating in a massacre committed by the far right-wing United Self Defence Forces.

The man, known by the alias Martin Llanos, said he took part in brutal killings in Mapiripan village in 1997.

The number of those murdered remains unclear as many of the bodies were cut up and thrown into a nearby river.

Massacres by militias were not uncommon as they killed people suspected of supporting left-wing groups.

~snip~
At the time of his arrest, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Llanos had played "the leading role in one of the bloodiest wars in the Llanos Orientales (region) and left hundreds, I'd say thousands, of victims".

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-19879386

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Reply Colombia militia boss 'Martin Llanos' confesses murders (Original post)
Judi Lynn Oct 2012 OP
Judi Lynn Oct 2012 #1
Judi Lynn Oct 2012 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 09:51 PM

1. Mapiripán Massacre: Paras told U.S. Operation “well-coordinated in advance” with Colombian Army

Mapiripán Massacre: Paras told U.S. Operation “well-coordinated in advance” with Colombian Army
July 16, 2012
by Michael Evans



The massacre was “well-coordinated in advance” with the Colombian Army.

Colombia’s Mapiripán massacre was “well-coordinated in advance” with the Colombian Army, according to confidential paramilitary sources, one of which the U.S. Embassy believed had “participated directly in the planning” of the killings. The new disclosures are the first from a fresh set of declassified diplomatic cables on the Mapiripán case released at the end of last week by the State Department’s Appeals Review Panel on the15th anniversary of the massacre.

If this “blunt admission” of Army complicity in the Mapiripán massacre was correct, an Embassy official observed, “then both of the key paramilitary operations which most directly affected U.S.-assisted counter-narcotics operations in the Guaviare region in 1997 had been conducted with the foreknowledge and facilitation by members of the Colombian Army.” The other “operation” was the October 1997 massacre at Miraflores, which, like Mapiripán, was then an important narcotics trafficking hub in Colombia’s eastern plains.

It’s taken the State Department 15 years to declassify what it knew only 18 months after those dark days: that the Mapiripán massacre was likely the result of an Army-paramilitary conspiracy that went “well beyond” the units and individuals that have been implicated so far. The document suggests that the previous convictions in the case—which mostly involve junior officers and crimes of omission—are merely the tip of the iceberg.

A few days ago, we published a 2003 letter in which the State Department claimed—six years after the fact—that the Colombian military had tried to “cover up” the massacre, in which dozens were brutally killed by illegal paramilitary forces brought in from northern Colombia. These new documents, most of which are from 1997-1999, go a long way toward explaining how they arrived at that conclusion.

More:
http://nsarchive.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/mapiripan-massacre-paras-told-u-s-operation-well-coordinated-in-advance-with-colombian-army/

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 10:52 PM

2. The Massacre at Mapiripán

The Massacre at Mapiripán
By Jo-Marie Burt · April 3, 2000 ·

In July 1997, the paramilitary group known as the United Self-Defense Units of Colombia (AUC) went on a grisly killing spree in Mapiripán, a small coca-growing town in southeastern Colombia. According to eyewitness accounts, the paramilitaries hacked their victims to death with machetes, decapitated many with chainsaws and dumped the bodies–some still alive–into the Guaviare River. At least 30 people were killed, though the true number of dead may never be known. Carlos Castaño, the self-anointed leader of the AUC, immediately and unabashedly took credit for the massacre.

But Castaño did not act alone. Human rights observers immediately noted the complicity of the Colombian armed forces in the Mapiripán massacre. The paramilitaries used an army-guarded airstrip to land from their stronghold in northern Colombia and from which to launch their attack. Nor did the authorities respond to repeated calls by a local judge to stop the attack, which lasted six consecutive days.

Evidence later emerged suggesting that the role of the Colombian military in the massacre was in fact much deeper, and in March 1999 Colombian prosecutors indicted Colonel Lino Sánchez, operations chief of the Colombian Army’s 12th Brigade, for planning, with Castaño, the Mapiripán massacre. This is not surprising, given that the links between paramilitaries and the Colombian army have been well established. According to a February Human Rights Watch report, half of the Colombian Army’s 18 brigades have clear links to paramilitary groups.

In recent weeks, new evidence obtained by Ignacio Gómez of the Bogotá daily El Espectador, suggests that weeks, if not days, before the Mapiripán massacre, Colonel Sánchez received “special training” by U.S. Army Green Berets on Barrancón Island, on the Guaviare River. While it cannot be said that U.S. forces were directly involved in the massacre, or even knew that it was being planned, the events offer compelling evidence that U.S. equipment, training and money can be easily turned to vile purposes in what Human Rights Watch has called a “war without quarter.”

More:
http://colombiajournal.org/colombia6.htm

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