Colombia Nabs FARC Commander, New Paramilitary Chief

By Dialogo
March 23, 2010

Colombian authorities captured Saturday in separate operations in the country's northwest one of the principal leaders of the new paramilitaries and a commander of a FARC guerrilla front, officials said. Colombian President Alvaro Uribe confirmed the capture of Luis Deiber Duran, alias "Morcilla," head of a paramilitary group known as "Los Urabeños," in a police operation in Cordoba province. "This morning he was taken prisoner by the National Police in a spectacular intelligence operation. The police proceeded with great skill, so that when they got to the place, they made it impossible for him to get away," the president said. Uribe added that the arrest took place in a rural area of the municipality of Pueblo Nuevo in Cordoba province. He also recalled that during his government he has made sure, when he received crime reports from citizens, to make the criminals visible, as happened in Duran's case. "When they began to tell us about the ability of this bandit to harm citizens with drug trafficking, extortion and murder, we made him visible, we denounced him before the citizenry, before the Attorney General's Office. He often escaped, but the bandit finally falls in the trap," he said. In another operation, the army nabbed Ruben Dario Ortiz, alias "Moncholo," chief of Front 47 of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in a hamlet in the municipality of Granada in Antioquia province. Moncholo is accused of 23 years of "criminal activities" with Front 47 of the FARC, which has its area of influence in the Antioquia municipalities of Sonson, Argelia, Nariño and San Francisco. "This terrorist is considered a high-value target by security forces and has an arrest warrant out for crimes against humanity, forced disappearance and illicit recruiting," an army communique said.