5 Colombian soldiers accused of murdering civilians to boost kill counts

Five Colombian soldiers were accused Tuesday of murdering two farmers, in the latest case of “false positive” killings, in which elements of the armed forces kill civilians and report them as combatants.

According to the human rights prosecutor, one officer, two sub-officers, and two soldiers of the Army’s 31st Rifle Battalion allegedly killed two farmers in the northwest rural area of Valdivia, Antioquia and then presented them as FARC guerrillas killed in combat.

The prosecution said that the military report stated that the two victims were insurgents who were carrying two handguns and a grenade.

Ballistics tests could, however, suggest that the two suspected guerrillas were actually “farmers in the area and had no ties to the insurgency,” newspaper El Espectador reported.

The evidence collected from witnesses and ballistics experts, among others by the investigating prosecutor has made him reject the notion of an armed confrontation.

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