Paramilitaries beef up
BOGOTA -- Colombia's paramilitary umbrella group has expanded to include
operations in three new areas of the country to step up its fight against leftist
rebels, the daily El Tiempo reported Friday.
At a secret weekend meeting of the United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia
(AUC), as the paramilitaries call themselves, leaders welcomed to their ranks
groups from northeastern Santander department, and Casanare and Cundinamarca
departments in central Colombia, according to minutes of the meeting obtained by
It was apparently the Santander group that staged a raid in Barrancabermeja
weekend that left 11 dead, the newspaper said. As many as 40 people from that
port city's poor neighborhoods are believed to be held hostage by the right-wing
Meanwhile, new efforts were under way to begin peace talks between leftist
and the government.