Colombia: US coal giant paid death squad for protection

April 3, 2011

US coal giant Drummond paid right-wing paramilitaries accused of murder and human rights abuses for protection of its Colombian operations, said on March 16.

The article said the information was revealed in secret diplomatic cables sent between 2006-2010 released by WikiLeaks to the Colombian paper El Espectador, said: “Over the course of four years U.S. Embassy officials sent 15 diplomatic cables to Washington which expressed concern over the company’s labor disputes, lax environmental practices and apparent links with paramilitary death squads.”

Drummond is in the middle of a court case in the US over allegations it has links with right-wing paramilitaries.

“Victims of paramilitary violence in Colombia accuse Drummond of having paid the right-wing death squad AUC between 1999 and 2005,” the article said.

During this time 116 civilians were allegedly murdered by the AUC in the region where Drummond operates. said: “The civil case also seeks compensation for the relatives of several people who were murdered, which they claim was for refusing to sell their land to make way for the company's railroad.”

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