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Colombian Far-Right Paramilitaries on Verge of War

Colombia’s most powerful far-right warlord has told former allies they must join him in peace talks with the government or face “annihilation,” a paramilitary chief said on Monday. Carlos Castano, who commands 10,000 heavily armed outlaws, made his threat to 1,500 fighters based around the city of Medellin who refused to join talks last year, the commander of the Medellin-based “Metro Block” told Reuters by telephone. “We are preparing for war, because they are threatening us with war,” said the Metro Block’s chief, who is known by the aliases “Rodrigo” or “Double-Zero.” Castano, who is wanted for cocaine smuggling by the United States and admits to dozens of killings, surprised many people late last year when he began peace talks with the government of President Alvaro Uribe. The far-right paramilitaries sprung up as an illegal backlash against Marxist guerrillas and are notorious for killing peasants they suspect of aiding the rebels. Full Story

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