Gulf Clan denies attacks on police, reaffirms commitment to bilateral ceasefire

Archive – A soldier standing next to a helicopter in Colombia. – EJÉRCITO DE COLOMBIA

The Clan del Golfo paramilitaries have denied Friday that they were behind the attacks on police and Colombian Army officers inside a mine in the municipality of Buriticá, Antioquia, and reaffirmed their commitment to the bilateral ceasefire agreed with the government in December 2022.

The Occidente Antioquia front Edwin Román Velásquez has blamed the miners themselves for being responsible for those shootings and has reproached the media for having imputed these «reprehensible events» to them.

«What these false rumors are trying to do is to hide the real perpetrators of the events. On more than one occasion we have called on the media to investigate the journalistic reports they present so as not to serve as a sounding board for obscure interests that seek to muddy our good name,» protested the paramilitary group in a communiqué.

«We have fully respected the bilateral ceasefire between the state security forces and our organization and we will continue to do so, certain that in this way a climate of peace will be strengthened,» it reaffirmed.

A few days ago, several Colombian media echoed the shots fired at law enforcement officers and press workers when they were in the vicinity of a mine.

Local authorities then accused the Clan del Golfo of being behind the shootings, while questioning the group’s willingness to join the government’s peace talks.

The Clan del Golfo, or Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia (AGC) as they prefer to be known, is one of the four groups with which the Colombian government has reached a bilateral ceasefire.

Heir to the dissolved United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), its weight and presence in the armed conflict has been waning over the years. The last blow received was the media coverage of the arrest in October 2021 of its main leader and one of the most wanted criminals in Colombia, Dairo Antonio Úsuga, alias ‘Otoniel’, who has been extradited to the United States.