BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Right-wing paramilitary groups killed 11 men
suspected of being leftist sympathizers, authorities said Sunday, the latest
bloodshed in Colombia's north, where dozens have been massacred in
About 50 gunmen arrived Friday night at a series of farms outside San Juan
Nepomuceno and Maria La Baja in Bolivar state and shot to death the men,
all aged 25 to 35, said Marine Col. Rodrigo Quinonez.
Quinonez's units arrived on the scene Saturday and found the local population
terrorized, with 200 peasants already having fled to Maria La Baja.
He said a paramilitary officer in a camouflage uniform called the victims
name, accusing them of being members of the leftist rebel National Liberation
Army, or ELN.
Bolivar state and the Marines were offering a $10,000 reward for information
leading to the capture of the attackers, Quinonez said.
The region is one of Colombia's most turbulent. Paramilitary units vie
control of its mineral riches -- including the country's most extensive gold
deposits -- as well as the local cocaine business.
Since mid-February, more than 60 people have been killed by paramilitary
units who believed they were sympathetic with the ELN.
In one of the cruelest actions, some 200 paramilitaries massacred at least
people with guns and machetes on February 16 in the village of El Salado and
another 17 in nearby Ovejas, according to federal prosecutors. The most
recent killings occurred just 30 miles away.
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.