Colombian army generals, troopers sacked for killing innocents


Bogota : The Colombian government has sacked three army generals and 20 troopers for killing, during anti-crime drive, scores of innocent young men whose bodies were discovered in a mass grave near the border with Venezuela.

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President Alvaro Uribe ordered the sacking Wednesday after an internal military investigation found the generals and the soldiers guilty of colluding with criminals and killing the men to show operational results in the fight against drug traffickers, EFE reported Thursday.

At least 20 young men from Soacha – a poor suburb south of Bogota – disappeared early this year. Their remains were found weeks ago in a mass grave in northeastern Colombia.

All of them were initially reported by the army as criminals killed in shootout.

The president said investigations have revealed that in some regions “innocent people were killed to give the impression that the army is fighting criminals in that region, when the real criminals are the one associated with the army to commit those crimes.”

At least 100 innocent people have been killed by the army in collusion with criminals till date, Uribe said.

Last week, the Attorney General’s Office said it arrested six soldiers on charges that they murdered two peasants and falsely described them as rebels killed in combat.

Inspector General of Police Edgardo Maya said it was reasonable to suspect that some members of the security forces are carrying out extrajudicial executions of people they regard undesirable.