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Paramilitaries give up their guns

Interesting article with some striking similarities to a province closer to home :wink:

More than 2,000 Right-wing paramilitaries surrendered their weapons yesterday in Colombia's biggest demobilisation of fighters in 40 years of civil conflict.

The guns of the "Heroes of Granada" faction of the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) were piled up in front of the government peace commissioner at a ceremony in San Roque, near Medellin.

The government said the move was further evidence of the success of its peace process with the paramilitaries, who acted as protectors of the huge cocaine business.

But there are fears that they are using the official amnesty to gain a clean judicial slate. "For us it's a way of getting government benefits and retraining," said a former "sicario", or assassin-for-hire. "For the patron, it is about legalising his fortune and avoiding extradition by the gringos."

The leader of the Heroes of Granada, Diego Murillo, alias Don Berna, stood beside the commissioner as his fighters handed over their weapons.

He looks set to walk away scot-free, the thousands of murders committed by his men forgotten and billions of pounds safely stashed away.

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