President Ivan Duque justified the operation that killed alias Guacho, the most wanted man by Colombia and Ecuador, and assured that this action will not stop investigations into the deaths of nine Ecuadorians – including a press team – attributed to the ex-guerrilla.
Duque said that special forces should have fired at Walther Patricio Arizala (Guacho), leader of the Óliver Sinisterra Front, dissident of the demobilized FARC guerrilla, in view of his “dangerousness”.
“We were talking about a very dangerous criminal, who in the past had been accompanied by people with heavy weapons. The decision was made to be accurate, but at the same time minimize any risk to the lives of our men, “he told Blu Radio.
The commander of the Colombian Military Forces, General Hernando Navarro, also justified the measure. He said that ‘Guacho’ had a high criminal record, was generating too many inconveniences in the area and, according to the rules of International Humanitarian Law, it became a totally lawful military objective.
“We understand the great concern of the relatives of the murdered journalists, but there are other ways that are part of the judicial investigation process to clarify what really happened when they were murdered.”
Of 29 years and link of the Mexican cartels, Guacho died last Friday by the shooting of a sniper in a jungle area of the department of Nariño, bordering Ecuador.
The rebel, of Ecuadorian origin, was responsible for the death of a team of the newspaper El Comercio – two journalists and a driver – and a couple of Ecuadorians, in separate actions committed during the first half of the year and that turned it into the enemy number one of the two countries.
After being killed, the families of the victims of El Comercio called on Saturday for the continuity of the investigations. Before, they had regretted that Guacho had died instead of being captured.
“The investigation into what happened to them will not end with this blow to Guacho. We have to continue with all the investigations, to know details of the circumstances, “Duque promised.
At the same time, he issued a warning to the other dissident groups that broke away from the 2016 peace process and that led to the disarmament of some 7,000 combatants of the now FARC party.
“The best they can do is surrender to justice, if not, they will receive all the offensive, dissuasive and sanctioning capacity of the State,” he remarked.
Despite the death of Guacho, no authority expects the end of drug trafficking in the Colombian Pacific. Even Intelligence reports estimate that another FARC ex-guerrilla, known as Gringo, will assume command of the Óliver Sinisterra Front.
According to the Colombian Prosecutor’s Office, within the framework of the operation against Guacho, the Colombian Technical Investigation Corps (CTI) was able to prove and expose the close relations between the Pacific drug trade and the Mexican cartels. “Its judicialization is the next priority,” said Néstor Martínez Neira, attorney general of the Nation. After four decades of struggle against drug trafficking, Colombia remains the world’s leading producer of cocaine and the United States As the biggest consumer.
In social networks continue the doubts about whether Guacho really fell down. It was even said that his features coincided more with those of El Gringo, who is wanted by the authorities, since he would be the new leader of the Óliver Sinisterra Front.
The Colombian president, in a radio interview, confirmed that the body corresponds to Guacho and said that the color of the skin looked different due to decomposition. “The cut of the ears is exactly the same,” as the “steep shape of the skull,” he said. (I)