The Associated Press
April 13, 2001

At Least 6 Dead in Colombia Attack


              BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Suspected right-wing paramilitary gunmen raided a
              village in southwestern Colombia and killed at least six people, authorities said

              The report of Tuesday's attack came as paramilitary leader Carlos Castano
              predicted the government's peace efforts with leftist rebels would collapse and
              warned the 37-year conflict would spill into neighboring countries.

              Some 80 suspected members of Castano's United Self-Defense Forces of
              Colombia, or AUC, attacked the village of Timba on Tuesday, shooting at least six
              people in the head, Sergio Tulio, a spokesman for the Cauca state governor's office,
              told The Associated Press.

              Eyewitnesses said that as many as 25 were missing and feared either abducted or
              killed, Tulio said. He said the gunmen accused their victims of sympathizing with
              leftist guerrillas before killing them.

              Some 400 of the village's 2,300 residents fled their homes after the assault to seek
              protection in Buenos Aires. News of the attack took days to surface because of the
              village's remote location in mountains 210 miles southwest of the capital, Bogota.

              The AUC, which is waging a brutal war against suspected guerrilla collaborators
              across Colombia, is active in the region along with rebels.

              In a letter posted on an AUC Internet site Friday, Castano said President Andres
              Pastrana's efforts to negotiate peace with two leftist rebel groups were ``dying'' and
              the war spiraling out of control.

              The peace process ``has become the prelude for an open civil war whose
              consequences will extend through the whole adjacent region,'' Castano said in the
              letter, which was addressed to foreign leaders including U.N. Secretary General
              Kofi Annan and U.S. President George W. Bush.

              The AUC has been waging a military offensive in northern Colombia to try and
              prevent talks there between Pastrana's government and the country's second-largest
              rebel group, the National Liberation Army.