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Paramilitaries' Infighting Batters Delicate Colombian Peace Process

Infighting among Colombia’s right-wing paramilitary commanders is threatening to undercut a fragile peace process begun by President Alvaro Uribe last year as part of an effort to end the nation’s four-decade civil war. In December, a large swath of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, an outlawed, ultra-right-wing group created in the 1980s to combat the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, declared a cease-fire as the start of a peace process with Uribe’s government. But some AUC factions, such as those in the Medellin area and on the border with Panama, have refused to join the negotiations, and the commander of the Medellin faction claimed this weekend to be under attack by his former comrades in arms. In an e-mail interview, a person who identified himself as the Medellin-area commander known as Rodrigo said fighting had commenced last week in the Medellin suburbs of La Ceja and Montebello. He said 2,000 AUC fighters had descended on his territory with the intent to attack, and that two men in his 1,200-strong Metro Bloc had been killed. Another 10 had disappeared, he said. The deaths have been verified by journalists who traveled to the region. Full Story

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