Colombia arrests 32 politicians over paramilitary ties

Members of a bandit group cover their faces as they surrender on May 21, 2009 in UrabaColombian authorities have arrested 32 local politicians for alleged ties to right-wing paramilitary groups that fueled the country’s 50-year conflict before being disbanded a decade ago, prosecutors said Thursday. The mayor of the port town of Turbo, William Palacio Valencia, was among those arrested. “The investigation indicates these people are linked to the Elmer Cardenas block, which was led by Freddy Rendon Herrera, alias ‘The German,'” said a prosecution statement. Rendon is accused in the killings of 4,301 people during a wave of massacres and violence that swept the Uraba region in the 1990s and 2000s, when paramilitary groups waged a campaign of terror aimed at intimidating local voters.