Investigations have revealed that soldiers were poisoned by meat laced with high concentrations of pesticide, according to a report released on Friday.
The National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Science confirmed that meat suspected to have poisoned ten soldiers in eastern Colombia was laced with high concentrations of industrial pesticide, according to the national Ombudsman.
One soldier died and and several others fell ill this week after eating meat sold to them at half price in a rural area of Aruaca. The national army suspected the meat was sold by an ELN guerilla disguised as a farmer, and immediately condemned the act by the rebel group.
MORE: Colombian soldier dies of poisoning, 6 hospitalized in suspected ELN attack
Ombudsman Jorge Armando Gomez Otalora called the incident an “unacceptable and a violation of human rights practice,” adding that while the confrontation was between combatants, the act of poisoning violates international humanitarian law according to the Geneva Conventions.
International human rights law prohibits killing, injuring, or capturing an adversary by means of feigning protection, or leading someone into confidence. The press statement also added that the International Committee of the Red Cross believes “the use of biological agents to cause illness, death or instill terror” constitutes a repulsive and hateful action, and emphasizes that acts of this nature should be condemned universally.
Prosecutors say that those responsible will have to answer the crimes of murder, attempted murder, and treason, which could result in more than 40 years in prison, according to reports by El Tiempo.
- Enérgica condena de la Defensoría tras confirmarse envenenamiento de soldados en Arauca (national Ombudsman press release)
- Ejército llevará a ONU caso de envenenamiento de ocho soldados (El Tiempo)