Colombian authorities dismiss army members for extrajudicial killings

Five army men have been dismissed on Tuesday from the Colombian Army and barred from running for public office for 20 years in reprisal for the extrajudicial killing of two helpless indigenous women who they passed off as guerrilla members killed in combat.

Radio Santa Fe reported that the Inspector General’s Office convicted the five men for killing two defenseless indigenous women in 2004 in the town of Manuare, located in the very northern Guajira department of Colombia, in a phenomenon that has become known as “false positives.”

The action was carried out on June 8, 2004 when the soldiers entered a ranch in the town and shot the two indigenous women in the back, claiming that the civilians were killed during combat. However according to local media, evidence in the case showed that “the two deceased did not fire any weapons and as related by family and friends who have credibility in their claims said that they ran in fear when they saw the troops.”

The military personnel affected by the inspector’s decision included a captain, two sergeants, and two professional soldiers.

The euphemism known as false positives refers to the extrajudicial killings of thousands of civilians by military. The scandal was unveiled in 2008 yet so far only some 230 members of the armed forces, primarily lower-ranked officials, have been sentenced out of 4,373 people implicated in the killings. In an August 31 report, the Prosecutor General’s Office said it had found that the armed forces had killed 2,997 civilians throughout Colombia.

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