A Colombian NGO has made new allegations of ‘false positive’ killings, some as recent as June this year.
In a report due to be released November 21, the Center of Investigation and Popular Education (Cinep) recounts details of 961 new allegations of ‘false positives’ – a term used to describe the Colombian military killing civilians then passing them off as guerrillas to inflate their success rate.
Nine are reported to have taken place since Juan Manuel Santos assumed the Colombian presidency.
Santos told media in March that the “issue of false positives was gone,” and that “there has not been a single false positive case since October 2008.”
But Cinep says of the 961 new allegations it has documented, which took place between 1988 and 2011, nine happened since Santos took office.
In the most recent case, army and police units bombed near Cerro de Azul village, in the San Pablo municipality of the Bolivar department, while villagers were sleeping on June 20, 2011. It is alleged that 17-year-old Adinson Vaquero Valencia, who died in the attack, was then passed off as a militant in a FARC camp.
The report, ‘Debt to Humanity 2: 23 Year of False Positives,’ which will be released by Cinep on Monday, also cites the case of 17-year-old Luis Esteban Campo, who died in an army shooting near the main square in the municipality El Tarra, Norte de Santander department on August 2010.
Witnesses say they saw soldiers dress Luis Esteban Campo Rolon as an illegal militant and plant a gun on him. Brigade 30, which carried out the attack, said soldiers were responding to a gunfire attack, and Campo was carrying a short-range weapon.
Other cases involving minors include 16-year-old Jeisson Alejandro Sanchez, killed while running errands in the town of Vista Hermosa, in the department of Meta, then allegedly dressed as a guerrilla.
A further three alleged civilians were killed in the bombing of an Afro-Colombian settlement in La Loma in Riosucio, in the Choco department, on April 17, 2011.
Jose Angel Mendoza Asprilla, Juan de Mata Perea Reyes and Mario Martinez Rivas were killed in their home and then reported as dead guerrillas, according to Cinep.
The ‘false positives’ scandal first came to light in 2008, when men who had disappeared from Soacha, a town south of Bogota, were found in a mass grave near the Venezuelan border. It was discovered the men had been registered by the army as guerrillas killed in combat.
The Colombia Prosecutor General’s office is now investigating more than 3,000 cases.