Civilians killed in Colombia crossfire

The World

As is the case with many civil wars, there have been many grey areas in Colombia’s conflict and a difficulty to assess who’s a civilian and who’s a terrorist target. It’s places like this small village tucked into the Andes where these ambiguities play out in the toughest of ways. This woman and her partner stepped outside of their small house to go to the bathroom in 2005. Shortly thereafter, her husband was taken and shot, and she found him in a hospital. The rumor was that he had shot at the army, but as it turns out the man was doing neither. The army later claimed he was a guerilla killed in combat, but an investigation found out that the army had shot the man twice from behind by a handgun and his body showed signs of torture. This military official admits there are mistakes but the mistakes have been dealt with openly and by the judicial system. The government has investigated over 1,000 cases over the last five years in which army personnel may have claimed what is known here as a �false kill.� For the aforementioned case, the government was ordered to pay thousands of dollars to the surviving wife and her family. In other cases, officers have been jailed and are awaiting trial. This lawyer says the reason for the false killings are many, and says that the army sometimes resorts to extrajudicial killings and also feels that it has to meet quotas to get promoted. The head of the army is well aware of how deep these problems go, and he adds that the measure of success is now on how many guerillas accept amnesty rather than hunting and killing them.

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