Friday, September 12, 2014

Colombia: FARC Recruiter Arrested by Colombian Army, Air Force, Villamizar Likely Recruited Dozens

According to The Latin American TribuneColombian authorities captured a FARC rebel recruiter who is known to have recruited an unknown number of novice rebels to the FARC ranks.

Based upon Colombian Army and Air Force data, Miguel Angel Villamizar, 28, who recruited 80% of new rebels in the municipality of Yondo, in  northwestern Antioquía, according to a police communiqué.

COMMENT: I don't want to "beat a dead horse," but in terms of addressing my earlier posting today, had a cease-fire been instituted in November 2012, when peace talks began with the FARC in Havana, it is impossible to determine how many lives might have been saved. 

Villamizar, police say, is responsible for 80% of the illegal recruitment of minors for the Middle Magdalena Bloc of the FARC, which includes the departments of Bolívar, Santander and Antioquía.

Villamizar reportedly deceived women and children with promises of large sums of money in exchange for abandoning school and coming into the jungle to live and work with the FARC, authorities said.

“This capture not only has an effect on the...FARC’s Middle Magdalena Bloc, but it reflects the interest in protecting Colombia’s children,” said Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón.

The minister added that Villamizar deceived the minors, taking them to instruction camps where they were trained using carved wooden rifles and then forced to remain in the FARC ranks.

Villamizar is also accused of cocaine trafficking, extorting oil companies and business executives, as well as carrying out attacks on the country’s energy infrastructures.