Colombia’s prosecution claimed Thursday that the commanders of a military unit and a police unit are responsible for the massacre of at least seven farmers in October.
The Prosecutor General’s Office said it would file homicide charges against the unit commanders two and a half months after the tragedy in Llorente, a township in the coca-rich municipality of Tumaco.
The criminal charges will be brought in Pasto, the capital of the Nariño province in southwestern Colombia.
Deputy Prosecutor General Maria Paulina Riveros said the anti-narcotics officials will be charged with homicide and inciting deadly violence on October 5.
The security forces initially said the civilians were killed in a guerrilla attack, but were quickly disputed after locals said the police unit opened fire on the unarmed coca growers community.
The civilians crawled through the woods and hills. They were trying to avoid the fire but the bullets hit them. The balance: 6 dead that day (one more died in the aftermath a week later) and about 20 injured.
A police unit attacked an international human rights commission in the aftermath of the massacre.
The massacre and subsequent attack on peace observers spurred major international pressure on Colombian authorities to act on widespread human rights violations by the security forces.
At least 10 civilians have died in US-backed forced eradication operations. The security forces’ failure to take control of former FARC territory spurred turf wars and a wave of assassinations.
The international peace efforts in the South American country follow more than half a century of armed conflict between the state and multiple illegal armed groups.
More than 265,000 civilians have been killed and 7 million were displaced in the drug-fueled armed conflict.