Colombian former guerrilla leader arrested in Mexico

Bogota (AFP) –


One of the leaders of FARC, the Colombian guerrilla group turned political party, was arrested Tuesday in Mexico.

Rodrigo Granda, head diplomat for the Marxist group, was held under a "red notice" from Interpol, Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano said on Twitter.

He said the red notice and arrest request were issued by Paraguay, not Colombia.

"The detention of Mr Rodrigo Granda is due to a red notice from Paraguay for kidnapping, criminal association and intentional homicide," Molano said.

Mexican authorities also confirmed the arrest to AFP, declining to give further details.

The arrest was first revealed by two lawmakers from Comunes, the political party descended from FARC, Carlos Lozada and Pablo Catatumbo.

"They arrested Rodrigo Granda in Mexico," Lozada tweeted earlier Tuesday, before the defense minister said the red notice had come from Paraguay.

Lozada denounced a "clear violation" of the 2016 peace agreement between the guerrillas and the government that ended a half-century of conflict.

"He was traveling with Rodrigo Londono, president of the party, and others in a delegation," Lozado told Colombian media, saying Granda had been abroad with the permission of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the institution which handled the peace process and investigates crimes committed during the conflict.

Londono said in a video posted to Twitter that the group was attending leftist political training in Mexico.

"I call on the international community to guarantee the security of Rodrigo Granda," Londono said, but refused to "speculate" on the arrest.

Also on Twitter, Comunes accused the Colombian government of initiating the arrest.

President Ivan Duque "continues to attack the peace process, he asked Interpol to reactivate the red notice against Rodrigo Granda, leader of the Comunes Party and a signatory of the peace agreement," the party tweeted, also before Molano's statement that Paraguay had requested the arrest.

"Respect those among us who believe in peace, do your duty in letting us participate in politics!" the account said.

Granda, 72, was among the peace negotiators in Havana, during a process which began in 2012 and culminated in FARC's disarmament and for which then president Juan Manuel Santos won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Colombia has seen an uptick in violence in recent months, especially in areas where FARC members who reject the 2016 agreement have again taken up arms.