Colombia: AUC’s “Macaco” behind Putumayo mass grave

Colombian prosecutor general Mario Iguarán confirmed that several foreigners, at least three from Ecuador, are among the 105 presumed paramilitary victims whose bodies were exhumed from a mass grave near La Hormiga, Putumayo department, May 5. Another 106 bodies were exhumed from 65 common graves in the area over the past ten months. Ecuadoran families had been inquiring about loved ones who had disappeared across the border. Most of the victims, who investigators believe were killed between 1999 and 2001, had been dismembered before burial. With these finds, the number of bodies of presumed paramilitary victims exhumed nationwide since the beginning of 2006 to 900. Iguaran’s office estimates 10,000 Colombians lie in unmarked graves across the country, now in its fifth decade of civil war. “It has surprised us, despite the fact that we are in the middle of a conflict,” said Iguarán, adding that his office has reports of 3,000 common graves from victims’ families and other sources. The investigation is being carried out by the Judicial and Investigative Police Directorate (DIJIIN). Radio Caracol cited an internal report it said identified those responsible for the Putumayo graves as Carlos Mario JimĂ©nez, alias “Macaco,” leader of the Central BolĂ­var Bloc of the United Colombian Self-Defense Forces (AUC), and his second-in-command Arnolfo SantamarĂ­a Galindo, alias “Pipa.” (El Espectador, Bogota; AP, May 6)

See our last posts on Colombia and the paramilitary scandal, and Putumayo.

  1. Colombia: 760 para victims exhumed
    The remains of 760 victims of the paramilitaries have been exhumed by the FiscalĂ­a throughout Colombia so far, and authorities are said to have information about 4,000 more corpses in clandestine graves across the country as invetigations continue. (La Jornada, June 17)