The rebel who killed a leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) last week said Monday that other low- ranking members of the group could also kill rebel bosses, including top FARC leader Manuel Marulanda Velez. ( dpa )
Pedro Pablo Montoya, known by the alias "Rojas," has been under the protection of the Colombian Army since Thursday, after turning himself in with two other rebels after killing Ivan Rios - one of the seven members of the FARC leadership.
In an interview with Colombian radio Caracol, Montoya said he killed his boss in despair over an Army operation in northwestern Colombia, between the provinces of Antioquia and Caldas.
The rebel said he had a tense relationship with Rios and killed him in front of his comrades-in-arms, none of whom then sought to harm the man who had killed their boss. Before leaving with two other deserters, Montoya asked his fellow rebels to also turn themselves in, he said.
He said other FARC leaders can also be killed, because rank-and- file members of the group are "demoralized and lack motivation" in the face of "mistreatment."
"Rojas" admitted his move was "very important," since it will create mistrust among FARC leaders and their members.
After killing Rios and his female companion, Montoya cut off the leader's right hand and took it, Rios' ID documents and his laptop computer to the army unit that had been besieging the rebel unit.
Military legal experts were seeking to establish whether it would be appropriate to hand over the 2.6-million-dollar reward that had been offered for Rios. Some stress that rewards seek to establish the whereabouts of rebels in order to allow authorities to capture them, rather than to encourage murder.
Rios' death came only days after FARC number two Raul Reyes was killed on March 1 in a cross border raid by Colombian planes that bombed a FARC camp in Ecuador.