June 13, 2024

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Colombia in Uproar After Military Bombing of Drug Gang Kills at Least One Girl

BOGOTÁ, Colombia—The loss of life of at least one particular teenage woman in an aerial bombardment of a jungle camp operated by a narco-trafficking team has touched off outrage aimed at Colombia’s Defense Ministry, which has been less than tension to deliver a vary of armed teams to heel.

Army authorities on Wednesday declined to publicly establish the twelve persons they say had been killed on March two when the air force bombed a camp in southern Guaviare province utilized by a cocaine-smuggling team.

“This was an operation towards narco-terrorists that are setting up attacks towards the populace,” the defense minister,

Diego Molano,

explained in an interview with W Radio.

The bombing arrives as the administration of President

Iván Duque

has been less than fireplace from New York-primarily based Human Legal rights Look at and rural local community organizations for its incapability to prevent violence directed by narco-trafficking gangs towards civilians. In 2020, 133 local community leaders had been slain, up from 108 in 2019, a United Nations staff that will work in Colombia on these circumstances explained.

The defense minister declined to say how a lot of of people who died had been kids right until professional medical examiners entire an investigation on the bodies that have been recovered. But he acknowledged in an interview with Semana magazine that one particular of people killed was a 16-12 months-aged woman and that two of the five persons captured in the military operation had been also minors. The two kids are now in the care of little one-welfare expert services, an agency Mr. Molano once headed.

The lawyer general’s workplace, which is investigating the identities of people killed, declined to comment. In 2019, then-Defense Minister Guillermo Botero was forced to resign following 8 kids involving the ages of twelve and seventeen had been killed in a identical strike.

Colombia Defense Minister Diego Molano at a news conference last week in Bogotá.



Photo:

colombia’s defense minister/Reuters

Mr. Molano explained that a felony team led by

Miguel Botache,

who is also known by his alias of Gentil Duarte, forcibly recruits kids and turns them into fighters.

“Who’s liable for recruiting people youths and changing them into war machines? It is people organizations, not the national military,” he explained.

In a independent interview, Mr. Molano explained to Semana that “even however they are youths, they are a danger to society.” But he included in that interview and others that military intelligence was unaware that kids had been at the camp in advance of the strike.

Political opponents accuse Mr. Molano of justifying the killings of little one combatants.

“The war equipment is that which kills children, minister,” Sen. Iván Cepeda, a leftist lawmaker, explained in a

Twitter

write-up.

Mr. Molano couldn’t be attained for comment. But in an interview last week with The Wall Road Journal, he explained that the military is fully commited to destroying five felony organizations, which contain the Countrywide Liberation Military rebel team and the Gulf Clan, and eradicating drug crops.

“They are narco-criminals, who kill local community leaders, who dedicate collective homicides,” he explained, describing the violence that plagues some elements of rural Colombia.

Among people organizations is Mr. Botache’s team. They had been associates of the Groundbreaking Armed Forces of Colombia. But when the FARC, as it was known, created peace with the condition in 2016, his fighters stayed in the jungle, trafficking prescription drugs.

Just before they broke off from the FARC, several of Mr. Botache’s lieutenants explained to the Journal in a jungle camp pay a visit to that they had been unwilling to give up the management they had amassed around farmers who generate coca, cocaine’s uncooked component.

“I really do not believe I’ll be leaving the countryside,” explained one particular of them, Ivan Lozada. “We’ve never ever had so significantly electricity.”

Generate to Juan Forero at [email protected] and Kejal Vyas at [email protected]

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