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Colombia warlord wants foreign money to demobilise

Colombia’s most feared far-right warlord, whose militias have killed thousands of civilians and leftist rebels, asked international donors to help pay for his paramilitary fighters to lay down their arms. Carlos Castano told local television in an interview late on Monday his United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia would congregate in three months under government supervision to begin formal peace talks. But the renegade former army scout, wanted in the United States for drug trafficking and in Colombia for dozens of murders, warned that other far-right chieftains would take his place if the government did not deal fairly with his men and combat their Marxist rebel foes. “If society doesn’t do its bit and society doesn’t strengthen the state and the international community doesn’t intervene, then Castano could be away in a university in England or extradited to the United States or wherever and other defense groups will emerge,” said the paramilitary chief. Castano founded his illegal militias to seek revenge 22 years ago when rebels kidnapped and killed his father. He argues the government’s failure to protect ordinary citizens justified his war, which often targeted civilians suspected of collaborating with Marxist guerrillas. Full Story

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