A report from Colombia’s National Commission for Reparation and Reconciliation (CNNR) this week says 6,000 demobilized members of the right-wing paramilitary groups have re-joined criminal organizations.
The CNNR says these former paramilitary soldiers, who demobilized in a peace process between the government and the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), have joined Emerging Criminal Groups. Known by its Spanish acronym BACRIM, these groups include powerful criminal syndicates such as the Rastrojos, ERPAC and the Urabeños.
CNNR says the recruits are joining the BACRIMs for a steady salary. But, it adds, many are forced to participate. Perhaps as many as 2,500 more, the report says, are wanted for lesser crimes.
If the statistics are correct, this represents fifteen percent of all the illegal soldiers who have demobilized since 2003.
Numerous BACRIMs operate in Colombia. Most of them are involved in drug trafficking, arms trafficking and money laundering and work closely with Mexican criminal syndicates.