Colombia to reward defected guerrilla for killing leader

March 12th, 2008 - 2:43 pm ICT by admin  

Bogota, March 12 (Xinhua) Colombia has said that it will reward a defected member of the country’s largest insurgency group, who killed one of its top leaders before turning himself over to the authorities. Pablo Montoya, member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, killed his immediate superior Ivan Rios Friday for a huge bounty on him.

He carried the severed hand of Rios as proof. Montoya had been a member of the FARC for the past 16 years.

Colombian Interior Minister Carlos Holguin said the government will pay Montoya around 5 billion Colombian pesos ($2.5 million) as reward.

“The money should be handed over, independent of any legal process that may be undertaken,” Holguin told the media, but added that a military intelligence committee would make the final decision.

The bounty issue has sparked a heated debate in the country. Both President Alvaro Uribe and Attorney General Mario Iguaran have argued that encouraging Colombians to chase rebels for rewards risked reviving the militias, which Colombia worked hard to disband in 2006.

Montoya has not been charged with any crime so far, according to Holguin. He has been questioned by the police and publicly called on the former FARC colleagues to lay down their arms.

A FARC statement on the Internet said the group is investigating the incident and denied Montoya’s allegations that it is disintegrating.

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