Six dead in paramilitary massacre in Colombia
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Suspected right-wing paramilitary gunmen
continued a wave of massacres Friday, killing six people in a northern Colombian
town. U.N. human rights monitors said Colombia's violence has reached new
and more "alarming" heights.
Friday's killings, the third paramilitary massacre this week, occurred
northwestern Antioquia State. Police had no more details on the killings in Santa
Barbara, 130 miles from the capital, Bogota.
In a statement late Thursday, U.N. human rights monitors said as many as
170 unarmed people
had died in 26 massacres this month, proof of an "alarming degradation" in Colombia's 36-year
The government of President Andres Pastrana has failed to respond to early
warnings in many of the
attacks, local representatives of the Geneva-based U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said.
The government had no immediate response.
In one of the deadliest massacres in months, paramilitary gunmen used machetes
to kill 25 villagers in northern Sucre State after accusing them of being guerrilla collaborators.
The nationwide United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, took credit for the massacre.
On Monday, just as defense officials pledged new measures to combat paramilitary
fighters forced 10 men off a bus in western Colombia and executed them on the spot.
Bogota's leading newspaper, El Tiempo, said government pledges over the
years had produced
few results in reigning in the paramilitary forces, who allegedly operate with tacit and sometimes
direct support from elements within the U.S.-supported Colombian military.
U.N. monitors condemned the Sucre massacre and the assassination Thursday
of the mayor of Jurado, a town near the Panamanian border, by suspected
guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
The FARC pulled away from peace talks with Pastrana in November demanding
stronger government action against the AUC, its arch rival.
Stronger curbs on paramilitary violence and army-paramilitary collusion
is also a
condition for Colombia to continue to receive U.S. military aid and training under
a $1.3 billion anti-narcotics aid package.
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.