May 7, 2001

Colombia nabs right-wing vigilante suspect

                  BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) -- Colombia has captured a leader of the outlawed
                  far-right paramilitary forces, known by his nickname "Head-Chopper," who is
                  accused of killing some 100 people in the nation's war-torn countryside, police

                  They said Dumar de Jesus Guerrero, reputed to decapitate his victims, was
                  captured Sunday by Colombian secret police in a northern suburb of Bogota.

                  Col. Gustavo Jaramillo, head of the DAS, told reporters that Guerrero was the
                  fourth-ranking leader of the 8,000-member United Self Defense Forces of
                  Colombia (AUC), which the United States branded a "terrorist organization" last

                  Paramilitary groups were accused of killing 10 civilians in combat over the
                  weekend in poor, rural areas in north and southwestern Colombia. The illegal
                  vigilante group targets guerrillas and suspected rebel sympathizers in Colombia's
                  37-year-old war.

                  The conflict has claimed 40,000 mainly civilian lives in the past decade.

                  Guerrero's capture comes amid the armed forces' biggest crackdown yet against
                  the AUC, whose leader, Carlos Castano, is a former army scout whose father
                  was allegedly kidnapped and killed by leftist guerrillas.

                  Last week, the military captured 61 paramilitary fighters, some of whom were
                  accused of leading the brutal Easter massacre of 40 peasants in the poor,
                  northeastern region of Naya.

                     Copyright 2001 Reuters.