Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Colombia: Paramilitary claims tie to Uribe

BOGOTA, April 27 (UPI) -- An incarcerated paramilitary soldier accused Colombia's president and his brother of helping plan a 1997 massacre, El Nuevo Herald reported Sunday.

The right-wing paramilitaries attacked the village because its inhabitants were suspected of harboring leftist guerrillas, sworn testimony given to the nation's prosecutor general and obtained by El Nuevo Herald revealed.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has denied the allegation, saying it was just another failed attempt to tie him to the paramilitaries.

It is not the first time, however, that Uribe and his brother have been linked to the guerrilla fighters.

Last week, Colombian prosecutors called for the arrest of a relative of the president, also for alleged ties to paramilitaries, officials said Tuesday.

Mario Uribe Escobar, a former senator who has sought political asylum in Costa Rica, denied any connection to right-wing armed groups, El Tiempo reported Tuesday.

A former leader of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, said the president's cousin met with him and asked for the AUC's support during his 2002 Senate campaign.

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