Rebel who killed FARC boss and cut off hand on strike for reward

Other News Materials 3 September 2008 02:00 (UTC +04:00)

Former rebel Pablo Montoya, who killed a member of the leadership of the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in search of a reward, said Tuesday he has been on hunger strike for nine days because the Colombian government did not keep its promises.

Montoya, known with the alias "Rojas," killed Ivan Rios - part of FARC's seven-member leadership - and his partner on March 3. He cut off the late boss's right hand and turned it in to the Colombian Army as proof of the killing, along with ID documents and a computer allegedly belonging to Rios.

The authorities went to the site where "Rojas" said he had buried the bodies and indeed found Rios.

Colombian Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos said at the time that the government would give Montoya the promised reward - not for the killing, but for the information he provided about FARC.

The former rebel complained, however, that he still had not been paid the 1.2 million dollars that he had been promised, which he expected to share with two other former rebels.

"I do not regret it, because I rid the Colombian people of an executioner. But when one talks one should deliver," he said with reference to the government's promises.

He said he feels "kidnapped" in jail and noted that he has not been visited by representatives of the government or of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

FARC has threatened to kill him, and the authorities "have done nothing" to increase security for him at a Bogota jail, Montoya complained further.

"I am at a place where I see no light, I do not know whether it is raining or not, I have no contact with the outside world here," he told Caracol Radio.

Rios was killed just two days after a controversial Colombian raid on Ecuadorian territory killed FARC number two Raul Reyes, among other rebels.

Weeks later, FARC founder and boss Manuel Marulanda died of heart failure, according to the rebel group. These deaths forced the group to comprehensively reshape its leadership, dpa reported.