An officer who left the Colombian army in 2004 to join the now-defunct AUC rightist militias said the Andean nation's armed forces worked closely with the murderous paramilitaries.
Former Capt. Adolfo Enrique Guevara Cantillo offered the revelation in an interview from a prison in Barranquilla, where he is serving time for his activities with the AUC.
The interview appeared on the Web site las2orillas, which resumed normal operations Monday after being down over the weekend. The journalist who talked to Guevara, Gonzalo Guillen, blamed the outage on hackers.
Guevara's comments pertain to events in northern Colombia during the 2002-2010 tenure of President Alvaro Uribe, who is seeking a Senate seat in next month's legislative elections.
The erstwhile soldier and militiaman spoke about "false positives," the name given to the military's practice of executing unarmed civilians and then presenting them as guerrillas killed in combat.
Apparently driven by a desire to show results in the struggle against the rebels, the tactic was "state policy" rather than the work of rogue commanders, Guevara said.
"They called me because I did the work: they told me where, what time, who. I got out of the car or off the motorcycle, I killed him without asking questions," he told Guillen.
"The RIME (regional army intelligence) arrived, the Gaula (an elite military unit). They put on the show, they did the press statement, all coordinated by the militias," Guevara said.
He said his commanders gave him explosives and weapons to plant on the victim's body to make the accusations of guerrilla activity plausible.
A victim might be accused of having attacked the railway serving U.S. coal miner Drummond, Guevara said.
Gaula received "gasoline, food, everything," from Drummond, he said. "All the false positives you want. I executed them."
Guevara said he quit the military in 2004 after then-army chief Gen. Mario Montoya personally asked him to kill an AUC member who had assassinated a mayor in the banana-growing region of Uraba.
Guevara resigned his commission and joined the AUC, becoming the top aide to warlord Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias "Jorge 40."
The AUC ostensibly demobilized in 2006 as part of a peace process with the Uribe administration. EFE