Published on Monday, August 28, 2000 by Reuters
Right-Wing Colombian Militia Massacre 22 More Civilians
BOGOTA - Suspected members of Colombia's feared right-wing paramilitary forces killed 22 people in two separate massacres over the weekend, police and local media reported on Sunday.

Some 150 heavily armed men killed 10 people in the town of Cienega near Colombia's Caribbean coast in a predawn raid Sunday after pulling their victims from their beds and from a dance hall, a police spokesman said.

``This was the work of the so-called self-defense groups,'' a regional police spokesman told Reuters by telephone, referring to the paramilitary groups.

Colombian Massacre
Bodies of massacre victims lie outside of a funeral home in the Caribbean coastal town of Coinage, about 430 miles north of Bogota, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2000. In Cienaga, gunmen seized, interrogated and then executed 10 residents of two poor neighborhoods. The killings come three days before President Clinton is to visit Colombia to discuss U.S. anti-narcotics aid to the drug-producing nation. (AP Photo/El Heraldo)
Separately, another paramilitary death squad killed 12 people overnight Saturday in three towns near the Pacific port of Buenaventura after announcing they would act against suspected leftist rebel collaborators, RCN television reported.

Ultra-right paramilitary gangs are loosely organized under the umbrella group known as the United Self-defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) that battles leftist rebels and often selectively kills guerrilla sympathizers.

Colombia has suffered three decades of fighting between the Marxist guerrillas, state security forces and paramilitary groups. More than 35,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in the past ten years alone.

Copyright 2000 Reuters Limited