The number of alleged members of illegal armed groups killed by the military increased 87% in the first half of 2019, according to a report by conflict FIP obtained by newspaper El Tiempo.
The numbers coincide with those made public by the country’s defense ministry and come amid concerns that the military results could be inflated with murdered civilians.
According to El Tiempo, the Fundacion Ideas para la Paz (FIP) registered 62 military offensives between January and June, am 82% increase compared to the same period last year.
Who the military has attacked
Source: FIP via El Tiempo
The FIP reportedly registered a 87% increase in alleged enemy combatants killed in combat; 103 in the first half of this year against 55 last year.
The majority of these reported combat kills were alleged members of illegal armed groups. The number of ELN guerrillas killed dropped 28% from 29 to 21.
These numbers coincide with the Defense Ministry statistics for the first five months of the year.
Combat kills between January and May
Source: Defense Ministry
The government added that the number of alleged ELN guerrillas that were captured increased 37% to 411 and that the number of alleged members of other illegal armed groups who were captured went from 1,438 to 2,006.
National Army commander General Nicacio Martinez ordered his troops to double the number of combat kills and captures in a controversial directive that was met with resistance within the military.
Multiple commanders told the media that they believed that the only way the military could obtain such drastic increases in results would be through “false positives,” the reporting of murdered and arrested civilians as combat kills and captures.
Locals have reported at least two cases of demobilized members of the FARC who were allegedly assassinated by the military, one of whom ended up reported as a FARC dissident killed in combat.
Weekly Semana found multiple other stories of civilians or unarmed suspects who were shot dead and reported as combat kills.
These stories do not confirm fears that the army could be stepping up the killing and arresting of innocent civilians; the United Nations said last month that last year at least 12 of the reported 184 combat kills were in fact murdered civilians.