Former paramilitary boss deported to Colombia from United States

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BOGOTA (Reuters) - A former paramilitary boss accused of crimes including rape, torture and murder arrived in Colombia on Monday after the United States deported him, the Andean country's migration authorities said.

Hernan Giraldo, 72, was extradited to the United States from Colombia in 2008, where he served a 12-year sentence for drug trafficking offenses.

"He will have to answer for the crimes including forced disappearance, killings, torture, kidnapping, forced displacement, terrorism, rape, forced prostitution, human trafficking and theft, among others," Colombia's migration agency said in a statement.

Giraldo demobilized in 2006 under a peace deal in which thousands of paramilitaries laid down their weapons and submitted to legal proceedings.

According to victims' testimony and human rights investigators, Giraldo sexually abused dozens of women - including girls - when acting as commander of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia's (AUC) Tayrona Bloc, which operated in the North of Colombia.

The AUC was Colombia's largest paramilitary organization and is accused of massacres, kidnappings, forced disappearances, and acts of torture during its campaigns against left-wing guerrillas.

Far-right paramilitary units surged in the 1980s with support from farmers, land owners and others who sought to defend themselves from attacks by leftist guerrillas amid state absence.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)