Paramilitary Alleges Army Involvement in Massacre

News from Colombia | on: Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The former leader of one of Colombia's right-wing paramilitary death squads, Herbert Veloza, also known as 'H.H', has testified that the Colombian Army helped organize a four-day massacre in April 2001 during which an estimated 120 people were murdered and more than 4,000 forced to flee their homes.

The massacre, in the Naya region of Cauca department, was carried out by paramilitaries and involved extreme levels of brutality. In his statement to a judge in the city of Medellin on March 6th Veloza said that Jose Alberto Vargas, a colonel in the Colombian army, instructed his troops to leave the Naya region prior to the paramilitaries entering the area and carrying out the massacre. Veloza also admitted that the paramilitary unit under his command, the Calima Bloc, had murdered 110 people in the municipalities in the north of Cauca.

Collusion between the Colombian army and paramilitary death squads is extensive and systematic. Amnesty International's 2007 report on Colombia noted that while the Colombian regime had claimed that more than 30,000 paramilitaries had laid down their arms in a controversial government-sponsored demobilisation process, "there was strong evidence that paramilitary groups continued to operate and to commit human rights violations with the acquiescence of or in collusion with the security forces."

For more information on the Naya Massacre click here:

To read Amnesty International's 2007 report on Colombia click here:

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