FARC Guerrillas Responsible for Massacre of 199 People Arrested

By Dialogo
June 12, 2009

Bogotá, 10 June (EFE).- Today Colombian police arrested ten FARC guerrilla members, including the ones responsible for the killings in Bojayá, a north eastern village where 119 people died in 2002, informed the Director of police, General Óscar Naranjo. "Ten terrorists were arrested in an intelligence operation, including 'Rigo' (a.k.a Rigoberto García Restrepo), member of the FARC for twelve years and responsible for the attacks on Vigía del Fuerte and Bojayá, and hundreds of deaths," Naranjo told the press. The Bojayá massacre took place on May 2nd, 2002; it not only took the lives of 119 persons, but 114 were wounded, including 40 children caught crossfire between the paramilitary and rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The guerrillas were pursuing the extreme-right paramilitary group called United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) in the vicinity of a village in the jungle area of Chocó Department. The locals, fearing to be caught in the crossfire, sought shelter in a small church in the village when a cylinder bomb hit the roof, exploded and caused the massacre. The arrested individuals belong to FARC’s “front 34,” which operates in that area, said general Naranjo; he added that this includes not only Chocó, but also a vast area in the region of Urabá and in the department of Antioquia. Naranjo also announced during the promotions ceremony in Bogotá that “ justice will be served," when speaking of the arrested individuals and that "Rigo"’s capture had been the goal of the authorities for quite a while. According to Naranjo, it has been a priority for the police “to enforce the law on an individual who committed such a barbaric action, like the massacre of Bojayá," and who participated in dozens of terrorist attacks including attacks at police stations. The "Rigo" is facing charges of aggravated murder, terrorism and insurgence. The captured rebel is also accused of leading an attack on the Vigía del Fuerte’s police station in Chocó. The attack was performed on May 25, 2002, in which 21 officers were killed and seven held captive. In the last months García Restrepo was the " chief of recruiting " for "Iván Ríos’ block," -the main Colombian guerrilla group.