Drummond officials deny allegations in lawsuit

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Officials with an Alabama-based coal company have denied claims in a lawsuit that it funded a paramilitary group allegedly responsible for dozens of killings in Colombia.

A statement released by the Drummond Co. Friday called the lawsuit an effort by trade unions to blame the Birmingham-based firm for violence against union leaders and others in Colombia.

The statement says the violence has plagued Colombia for decades and that Drummond had no connection to it.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in Birmingham, claims a right-wing paramilitary group received milllions of dollars in payments from operatives for Drummond to carry out a reign of terror to protect the company's large coal mine and railroad in Colombia.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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