Weekly Semana published evidence confirming claims that Colombia’s army is trying to identify commanders who expressed concern to the New York Times about the commander’s order to double the number of combat kills and captures.
The magazine’s website published audio of a counterintelligence commander General Eduardo Quiroz offering $30,000 (COP100 million) or six-month vacations to officers who expose the commanders who talked to the NYT.
We will give 100 million pesos or a six-month leave to those who bring me the ones who are filtering the information that is coming out in the press.
General Eduardo Quiroz
Quiroz reportedly also called a meeting at the National Army’s 2nd Brigade in the city of Bucaramanga during which commanders allegedly were subjected to a lie detector test.
Colombia’s army accused of ‘hunting’ NYT sources who leaked order to double combat kills and captures
The army previously denied it was going after the whistleblowers who forced commander General Nicacio Martinez to change the directive that caused concern among other military commanders.
Some of the counterintelligence officers who talked to Semana expressed their concern about the apparent witch hunt on their colleagues and the origin of the promised financial rewards.
We knew that they were desperate to know where the information that is appearing in the media is coming from, but we were surprised when he said that at the meeting. Where is he going to get that money, how is he going to make it legal?
Anonymous counterintelligence officer
The NYT report and subsequent confirmations by local media sparked concerns because similar orders spurred the mass killing of civilians to inflate the military’s results under former President Alvaro Uribe.
Martinez, who has been linked to at least 23 of such “false positives,” has insisted that his initial orders were not in violation of international humanitarian law and human rights, and would not put the lives of citizens in danger.
President Ivan Duque promoted the alleged war criminal to army commander in December, triggering a crisis within the security forces about the citizen security and the National Army’s reputation.