Colombia: ’12 Apostles’ death squad ties unveil presidential link
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Colombia: ’12 Apostles’ death squad ties unveil presidential link

Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Colombia’s ex-president, is usually in the media spotlight for his outlandish comments against Juan Manuel Santos’ management of the ongoing peace process with guerrilla group the FARC.

Yet this week, it was his brother, Santiago Uribe who has made headlines, charged with being a member of the notorious ’12 Apostles’, a death squad responsible for hundreds of murders in the department of Antioquia.

Santiago, whose high-tech personal security tried to prevent his arrest from the swish barrio of El Poblado in Colombia’s second city Medellín, allegedly planned the 164 homicides during the 1990s, from the Uribe family ranch in Yarumal.

The principal charge in Santiago’s arrest is the murder of bus driver Camilo Barrientos Durán in 1994, whose vehicle was stormed by numerous armed men, resulting in the driver perishing in the crossfire. According to witness statements, Durán was targeted for possessing alleged links to left wing guerrilla groups within the department.


Former police chief Juan Carlos Meneses is the principal witness in the case. Meneses alleges that saw groups of armed paramilitaries training at the ‘La Carolina’ ranch on various occasions, home to generations of the cattle-breeding family, the Guardian reports.

Testimony from former paramilitary chief Santiago Mancuso has boosted the case against Santiago Uribe, who is currently serving a lengthy prison term in the U.S.

The former president is also facing investigation for involvement and links to right wing paramilitary groups in Antioquia during his stint as governor of the department in addition to the massacre of 15 people in the small town of El Aro during 1997 . No concrete evidence has as yet been uncovered.

Social media storm

Álvaro, a leading senator of the right leading Center Democratic party, has continued to protest his brother’s innocence. The politician’s defines team have jumped to his aid, claiming that Meneses’ claims form “part of a complot” against the Uribe family, according to BBC Mundo.

A firm fan of social media, Uribe has taken to twitter to protest his brother’s innocence:

“I will speak later in the week about my brother’s imprisonment, after dealing with my sadness.” He tweeted on March 1.

The senator then hit back against Colombia’s Supreme Court, claiming that they had tapped his phone line.

Rancher Santiago currently remains behind bars as the Court undertakes a 180 day term to debate whether Santiago deserves a lengthy sentence.

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