Army Major Orlando Arturo Cespedes Escalona, deputy commander of the Joint Task Force in Sucre, was arrested for his alleged part in the murder of eleven young people, who were falsely reported by the military as rebels killed in combat.
The scandal in which the army was revealed to have murdered many civilians and disguised them as rebels in order to inflate kill counts is known as “false positives,” and up to 3,000 such killings have taken place in Colombia, according to some estimates.
The victims, who were between 16 and 28 years old, were recruited in July 2007 to do agricultural work in Cordoba and Sucre, but were reported as killed in fighting with the military a few months later, reported Radio Santa Fe.
With the exception of one child under 16, the remains of the victims have been identified and delivered to their families.
The authorities have established that civilians contacted the victims and offered up to COP750,000 a month for agricultural work, and then summoned them to different locations where they were executed.
Several of these civilian recruiters have already been sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.
There is a warrant out for the arrest of Colonel Luis Fernando Borja Aristizábal, who was the commander of the military unit involved in the case.