Skip to comments.Colombian Government Wants to Assemble Right-Wing Militia
Posted on 02/16/2004 6:42:45 PM PST by BenLurkin
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - Right-wing paramilitary fighters should be required to gather in special zones to keep them from violating a cease-fire, the government's peace commissioner said Monday. The outlawed paramilitary groups, said to number about 12,000 fighters, have killed about 600 people in the last year, even though most of the groups declared a unilateral cease-fire against leftist rebels in December 2002, according to the United Nations, the Roman Catholic Church and human rights groups.
"We must perfect the cessation of hostilities, and to do that, zones of concentration are needed," Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo told local radio.
Colombia's civil war pits the paramilitary forces and the government against two leftist rebel groups, which refused government appeals to agree to a cease-fire and begin peace talks.
Though details of the plan are still being worked out, the paramilitary fighters would likely be put under the watch of the army, who would also protect them from attack by their rebel foes.
The paramilitary groups, most of which belong to an umbrella organization called the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, rose up in the 1980s to combat the rebel insurgency, now entering its 40th year.
Under a pact signed with the government in July, the AUC agreed to demobilize all its fighters by the end of 2005. About 1,000 have disarmed so far. Those concentrating in the special zones eventually would also put down their arms.
In other violence, suspected rebels detonated a bomb during a festival in a central Colombian town, injuring 22 people, including children, police said Monday.
Residents of Sacama, in Casanare state, were holding a party in the town's main park Sunday night when a brawl broke out among revelers. As police went to break up the fight, the bomb exploded, wounding 11 children, five adult civilians and six police officers.
Police originally reported that two of the officers died while being treated in a hospital, but later said medics were able to revive them. It was not immediately clear whether the brawl was a setup.
Yes, it does. Why not give them a DMZ like the one Pastrana gave FARC. They will not be so stupid as the FARC to throw away a chance at peace.