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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 08:13 PM

Colombia neo-paramilitary groups 'have protection of the state': Think tank

Colombia neo-paramilitary groups 'have protection of the state': Think tank
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 19:19
Adriaan Alsema

Colombia's neo-paramilitary groups continue to enjoy the protection of elements of the state, the director of a leading think tank said Tuesday.

In an interview with Colombia Reports, Leon Valencia, director of Corporacion Nuevo Arco Iris which monitors Colombia's illegal armed groups, said "it is impossible to exhibit such a degree of illegal activity without the protection of the security forces and without ties to politicians."

Explaining his remarks, Valencia outlined how the organizational structure supporting such groups is made up of three essential elements.

"On the one side there is the illegal (neo-paramilitaries), who are hidden away and have a secret life, the second tie is the one in civil life, who are lawyers, businessmen and people who have a good stature, and then there are the police and military."


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