15 Colombian soldiers will be tried for murdering civilians and falsely claiming they were leftist guerrillas killed in action, Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Thursday.
According to Fox News, Lt. Col. Isnardo Polania Delgadillo and 14 men under his command murdered six civilians in the southeastern Vichada department and later disguised them as guerrillas to boost their kill count.
The trend of the army murdering civilians and claiming they were rebels killed in action in order to receive benefits — units used to receive financial compensation if they killed a certain amount of guerrillas in a given period — has become known as the “false positives” phenomenon. The scandal first came to light in 2008, when civilians from Soacha, a town south of Bogota, were found in a mass grave near the Venezuelan border. It was later revealed that the Colombian army had registered them as guerrillas killed in combat.
More than 3,500 Colombian state agents are currently being investigated over “false positives” killings.