Retired soldier claims 26 Colombians accused in Haiti assassination have been really employed to guard the President
Matias Gutierrez, 45, informed CNN he was contacted in early June by a fellow veteran named Mendivelso Gersain, who put him in contact with one other man — retired Sgt. Duberney Capador — recruiting a bunch of personal safety guards to journey to Haiti.
Capador informed the lads he was working for a US-based firm and created a WhatsApp group to coordinate the recruitment effort, Gutierrez alleged. The emblem of Florida-based agency CTU Safety was added because the icon of the WhatsApp group, which, Gutierrez mentioned, sooner or later had greater than 250 folks in it.
“They solely talked about an organization primarily based within the US, and a job as personal safety in Haiti. Safety for the President of Haiti, who was believed to be below dying risk,” Gutierrez informed CNN.
Colombian police had already named CTU Safety because the recruiter for the Haiti operation, however their Haitian counterparts imagine a Haitian-born American, Christian Emmanuel Sanon, had employed CTU to recruit the 26 Colombians, characterizing them as mercenaries, in addition to two Haitian-Individuals.
When requested in regards to the 26 Colombians and two different Haitian-Individuals who’re suspects within the investigation, Sanon emphasised that “he would not know something in any respect,” based on a supply near the investigation, who can’t be named as a result of they don’t seem to be licensed to debate the affair. “He would not know. He would not know. That is what he mentioned for the reason that day authorities interviewed him,” the supply mentioned.
CTU Safety is headquartered within the Miami space and run by a Venezuelan man, Antonio “Tony” Intriago.
CNN has tried repeatedly to contact CTU Safety since Saturday and has been unable to establish contact info for Intriago. Colombian police say they’re working with Interpol to supply info on Intriago.
On Monday, Colombian police additionally claimed that the airfares for 19 the Colombian males have been paid with a bank card linked to an organization primarily based in Miami.
A few month after the primary recruitment method was made, based on Gutierrez, Moise was killed in his personal residence within the early hours of July 7. Capador was gunned down in an operation by Haiti police shortly afterward, on the identical day, and Gersain stays detained as certainly one of 20 Colombians captured after the assassination.
Gutierrez informed CNN he had been in touch with the recruited Colombian guards a number of instances whereas they have been in Haiti. They informed him the job was to complement the Haitian presidential guard.
“They weren’t working within the internal circle,” Gutierrez mentioned. “A rustic would by no means put the protection of a president within the arms of a stranger. The internal circle is all the time a bunch of presidential guards or secret service in civil garments. Our group was uniformed and dealing in assist of the internal circle.”
In keeping with the Colombian police, Capador travelled to Port-au-Prince on Might 10 with one other Colombian man, retired Capt. German Rivera. A gaggle of 11 retired Colombian troopers adopted them on June 4. It is unclear when Gersain arrived in Haiti.
On the finish of Might, Dimitri Herard, the Haitian chief of the Basic Safety Unit on the presidential palace, additionally traveled to Ecuador via Bogota, based on the Colombian Nationwide Police. The power mentioned July 12 that it’s investigating whether or not Herard, whereas in Colombia, met with any of the Colombian nationals allegedly concerned within the assassination.
Herard is at the moment below disciplinary measures in Haiti and was resulting from seem in court docket Wednesday, however he missed his look, citing “a precautionary measure ordered by the Basic Inspector of the Haitian Police,” based on a letter from Herard that CNN has seen.
Gutierrez questions Colombians’ involvement
Gutierrez, who works as a safety guard for an oil firm in Bogota, says he was drawn to the job by the nice pay and the likelihood to journey: “In Colombia, any job would pay you some 300 USD, whereas this provide was for $2,700 monthly, with meals and lodging included. I do know people who find themselves working proper now in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, folks in Kabul or Yemen, and even Syria. It was an identical job provide to these ones.”
Gutierrez informed CNN he’s a part of a large community of retired particular forces and commandos who work as personal safety at dwelling and overseas. Colombian veterans are extremely sought by personal safety firms due to their fight expertise garnered from sustained warfare among the many Colombian state, left-wing guerrillas and paramilitary teams.
Capador’s sister informed CNN her brother was additionally on the lookout for a greater wage overseas, saying he was struggling to get by on the state pension he obtained after 20 years of service within the Colombian military.
Gutierrez, in addition to a number of kin of different Colombians who traveled to Haiti, informed CNN the accusations towards the lads don’t add up.
“It was all a plot. How are you going to have such a assassination and never have a single lifeless however the President himself? If my fellows had performed the job, they’d have needed to enter the residence and kill the guards earlier than killing the President. You’ll have seen a fight scene,” Gutierrez mentioned.
Capador’s sister additionally informed CNN she spoke along with her brother within the morning on the day of the President’s assassination, and that he informed her that they had arrived too late and couldn’t save the goal that they had been employed to guard.
She mentioned she final heard from her brother on the afternoon of July 7, when he informed her he was negotiating the Colombians’ give up to the Haitian police, Capador informed CNN, a declare CNN has not been capable of independently confirm.
After the information broke from Haiti, every part turned quiet on the WhatsApp group created to coordinate the recruitment effort, Gutierrez claims.
“Our group was known as ‘First Flight.’ They created different teams as a result of there have been greater than 250 folks in that group, they usually couldn’t add extra. Then everybody left. There’s lower than 50 folks in it now.”
Gutierrez mentioned he felt the very fact that there have been so many individuals on the WhatsApp group prompt that the operation was nothing untoward.
“You do not do this if you should kill any individual,” he mentioned.
“I’ve performed these operations once I was within the army, and they’d ship a commando to kill a guerrilla chief or one thing comparable. You are by no means greater than eight folks. Eight is the utmost, as a result of in any other case too many individuals make the operation more durable. This time they have been including increasingly folks.”
His ideas, he says, are for the households of the detained guards: “They did not even obtain their first wage, that they had simply acquired there. Now this occurred, and possibly the Colombians are going to be charged. Who is aware of after they’ll see them once more.”