The regional command in Antioquia department of Colombia's second largest guerrilla organisation, the National Liberation Army (ELN), has released a communiqué in which they documented the collaboration between local death squads and public security forces.
04.04.2002 (ELN Communiqu The leadership of the 'Industrial Area' of the National Liberation Army (ELN) informs national and international public opinion that joint operations between paramilitary death squads and the Colombian army and police are continuing in the east of Antioquia and in the capital of that department, Medellin.
For some time now we have been denouncing the relationship that these forces have with one another and the fact that they seem to be three parts of one counterinsurgency strategy. This strategy was developed by the Pentagon and is put into practice by the military high command under orders from the Colombian elite. Today there is no doubt that the army, police and paramilitaries are integral parts of the same policy.
To follow are some examples:
1. On February 22nd paramilitaries entered the small municipal capital of Cocorna whilst the local police looked on with complete indifference. Their aim was to take away and assassinate people whom they accused of being guerrilla sympathisers and unfortunately they murdered two individuals before urban militias of our organisation were able to drive them out.
Under the protection of the army the death squad was then able to withdraw to the neighbouring municipality of Santuario where they operate openly next to the public security forces.
2. At dawn on February 27th paramilitaries and soldiers arrived in the village of La Merced in the municipality of Granada where, later that day as they were leaving the community, we ambushed them. We pushed them backwards, killing two and injuring one of them, towards the community of Choco de San Carlos where they joined up with other troops that were guarding the local electrical infrastructure.
3. Since the end of February paramilitaries have been based on the road that connects the Bogotá-Medellin highway to the municipality of San Luis. They have also been based near the cemetery and in the place known as San Jose on the road that leads to the community of Manizales. There are more paramilitaries based in the various urban areas of this municipality where they are threatening people, robbing food supplies, assassinating residents and preventing the free movement of peasant farmers and their products in the area - all of which is going on under the noses of the police force and under the protection of the army units that are in the vicinity of the municipality. This has been widely denounced yet they remain in their positions and it was only for Election Day, when some false combat between the army, police and paramilitaries was prepared, that they withdrew for a short time. Every time we ourselves have entered combat with the paramilitaries the police or army rapidly assist them.
4. The troops of the 4th Brigade and the metropolitan police of the Valle of Aburra [Medellin] carry out massive raids, violate the communities and work together with criminal groups in the city. On February 27th at 4am they captured, tortured and murdered 15-year-old Diana Milena Marin, 16-year-old Hector Hernando Marin, 17-year-old Leider Alexander Gil and another student all of the Olaya Herrera community school in the Blanquizal neighbourhood. At the same time they murdered 45-year-old taxi driver Marco Emilio Mejia who had witnessed their actions. Later all of these murdered people, including the children, were presented to the press by the army and police as ELN militia members - which was totally false. This was all part of the spectacle that has recently been being mounted by the new stars of regional television Colonels Mario Montoya Uribe and Leonardo Gallego and their circle of enthusiasts in the mass media.
It really is sad and deeply depressing to see that the elite and their mass media have simply decided to make up the news to suit themselves making them nothing more than propagandists for the executioners of our people.
We call on the people to actively resist these new repressive tactics of the legal and illegal forces of the state and direct our armed members to mobilise and confront them.
No Surrender, Always With the People
No Surrender, Always Revolution
No Surrender, Forever Onwards To Victory
Not A Step Backwards, Liberation Or Death
National Liberation Army
Industrial Area Leadership
Mountains of Antioquia, March 15th 2002
Original: COMMUNIQUE FROM NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY (ELN)