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Colombia arrests ex-security head

By Jeremy McDermott
BBC News, Medellin

Assassinated Colombian presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan
The precise circumstances of Mr Galan's assassination remain unclear

Colombian authorities have arrested a former head of the secret police - the Das - in connection with a high-profile unsolved murder.

Gen Miguel Maza Marquez was detained over the assassination of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan.

The murder is believed to have been ordered by Medellin drugs cartel boss Pablo Escobar, but 20 years later still has not been properly solved.

Mr Galan was shot dead as he addressed a rally in Bogota in August 1989.

He was the favourite to win the presidential elections.

Das complicity?

Gen Maza was head of the Administrative Security Department (Das), in charge of Mr Galan's personal security.

Gen Miguel Maza Marquez in 1990
Gen Maza is accused of scaling down Mr Galan's security detail

New information about the killing has recently come to light, after a paramilitary leader stated that the assassination had been carried out with the complicity of the Das.

Investigations by the attorney general's office uncovered allegations that Gen Maza had changed Mr Galan's head of security just before the assassination, replacing an experienced officer with a relative novice, and reduced the protection detail from 15 to just five agents.

The attorney general's office has not explained why Gen Maza would work with the Medellin Cartel or want Mr Galan dead.

Less than four months after Mr Galan's assassination, as Pablo Escobar waged war on the state over the issue of extradition, Gen Maza was himself targeted in a massive car bomb - set up by the Medellin Cartel - detonated outside the Das headquarters in Bogota, which killed more than 50 people.



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