Friday, May 2, 2008

Colombian Death Squad camp found inside Venezuela

Caracas, April 30 (IANS) Venezuela’s armed forces have discovered a camp set up by a Colombian militia group inside the country and arrested four of its members, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Wednesday quoting a top military official. The secret camp of the outlawed United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia, or AUC, was found last Thursday in the western state of Zulia near the Colombian borders, General Jesus Gonzalez said, adding that the camp was set up to train the right-wing paramilitaries.

He also said that several documents, 19 uniforms with AUC insignia, weapons, munitions, explosives and 80 kgs of cocaine were found from the site.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had earlier warned about the infiltration of Colombian paramilitaries in his country, as part of a plan to destabilise his leftist government.

The AUC, blamed by the UN for 80 percent of the war crimes in Colombia’s internal conflict, demobilized more than 31,000 of its fighters between 2003 and 2006 amid negotiations with the administration of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Made up of rural defence cooperatives formed more than 20 years ago to battle leftist rebels, most of the AUC militias degenerated into death squads, carrying out massacres of peasants, journalists and trade unionists suspected of having sympathy for the leftists.

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