Bogota.- The high command of the Colombian army acknowledged on Wednesday that 118 service members are being investigated for alleged sexual abuse against minors, amid the scandal over the rapes of two indigenous teenagers at the hands of soldiers.” Painfully, I would like to inform all Colombians (…) that at the moment we have carried out a detailed verification since 2016, identifying 118 members of the force related in cases of alleged abusive and violent sexual acts against minors,” army commander Eduardo Zapateiro said at a virtual press conference.
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According to the general, both the prosecution and the army investigate all cases to determine the criminal, disciplinary and administrative actions to which there is room. Of the 118 linked, 45 of them have been withdrawn from the army” and 73 face processes within the military institution, he emphasized. The high command uncovered the record pressed by scandals involving troops in violations of indigenous people and that caused a chain rejection in Colombia.On June 25, indigenous authorities reported that a 13-year-old girl was raped and kidnapped by soldiers patrolling the territory of the Embera Chamí community in western Colombia. Seven military personnel accepted charges for the child’s rape and are being held in a high- and medium-security prison for members of the public force. Zapateiro said he also withdrew the three NCOs serving as platoon commanders in the area. Four days later, a new rape complaint broke out against a 15-year-old Nukak Maku ethnic woman by a group of military personnel in September 2019.General Zapateiro repudiated these abuses and emphasized that these are “individual and non-systematic” behaviors of the 240,000 members of the army. The government also rejected the attacks that were released just a week after Congress passed a constitutional reform incorporating life imprisonment into rapists and murderers of children and adolescents under the age of 14. However, uniforms will not be enacted by this rule because it has not been enacted and for retroactive accounting purposes, according to lawyers. According to data from the forensic authority in Colombia, in 2019 more than 22,000 children under the age of 18 were victims of sexual offences and 708 of homicide.
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