October 13, 2000

Massacre leaves 11 people dead in Colombia

                  BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Eleven villagers were found shot to death along
                  a dirt road in Colombia on Friday, a day after allegedly being kidnapped by a
                  right-wing paramilitary group.

                  The corpses of the seven men and four women turned up outside Barbosa, a
                  rural town 18 miles (30 kilometers) northeast of the country's second-largest
                  city, Medellin.

                  Paramilitary fighters abducted the group from Barbosa on Thursday, accusing
                  them of being guerrilla collaborators, Medellin police spokesman Haten Dasuki

                  The victims were selected with the help of a female guerrilla who had been
                  captured by the paramilitary group and brought to the town, Dasuki said.

                  Television images from Barbosa showed the bodies littered about a dirt road. Several houses
                  were spray painted with the letters AUC -- the Spanish acronym of the United Self-Defense
                  Forces of Colombia, a national paramilitary umbrella organization.

                  The group has not claimed responsibility

                  Paramilitary squads with reported links to the Colombian military stand accused in the majority
                  of the mass killings committed annually in the South American country's 36-year armed conflict.
                  Amid escalating violence, at least 1,389 noncombatants died in massacres through August
                  of this year, according to statistics from the federal human rights ombudsman.

                  Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.