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News > Latin America

Remains Don't Belong to Camilo Torres: Colombian Experts

  • Camilo Torres Restrepo was killed by the Colombian military in 1966.

    Camilo Torres Restrepo was killed by the Colombian military in 1966. | Photo: EFE

Published 25 April 2016

The government promised the ELN guerrilla group that it would find remains as a peace gesture.

The remains studied by Colombian experts do not belong to priest, sociologist, activist and guerrilla icon Camilo Torres Restrepo, who was killed by the Colombian military Feb. 15, 1966, reported the Attorney General, Jorge Fernando Perdomo Monday.

The results followed the comparison of genetic material from the Torres Restrepo family with his alleged remains, exhumed earlier in January from a military cemetery in the town of Bucaramanga, in the province of Santander.

WATCH: Interview with ELN Delegation in Colombia Peace Process

The attorney added that his office will continue searching for his remains, although there was “no clear historical record where they can be found.”

The second-largest guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army, has long demanded that the state return Torres Restrepo's remains, as the priest was part of the group until his death. Following his killing, Torres Restrepo's body was confiscated by officials to prevent a cult from forming around his grave and a mass rebellion. It remains missing to this day.


Camilo Torres Restrepo and the Peace Process in Colombia

In January, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos responded to these demands and said the state would seek and return the guerrilla priests' remains as a gesture of goodwill toward the ELN rebels as the two sides engage in preliminary peace talks.

The ELN continue to condemn the state for its role in Torres Restrepo's death and maintain the inequality in the country that the guerrilla priest fought to change persists today.

The "guerrilla priest" mixed the ideologies of Christianity and Marxism, was a predecessor to liberation theology and an icon for speaking out for the rights of the poor and the dispossessed.

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