|Colombian Army platoon including SOA grad kills 10 US-trained police|
On June 1, Colombian chief federal prosecutor Mario Iguaran announced that an army platoon -- including an SOA graduate -- had deliberately killed 10 agents from a US-trained anti-narcotics unit of the Judicial Police Department (Dijin) on May 22 in the village of Potreritos, Jamundi municipality, in Valle del Cauca department.
"This was not a mistake, it was a crime--a deliberate, criminal decision," said Iguaran. "The army was doing the bidding of drug traffickers."
Carvajal attended a combat training course in March and April of 1985 at the School of the Americas.
The police agents had arrived at the site of a planned raid when a platoon of 28 soldiers ambushed them. A ballistics investigator found that the soldiers fired 150 bullets and seven grenades at police. A civilian informant who led police to the raid scene, promising they would find a large stash of cocaine, was also killed with a bullet to the head. Gen. Carlos Alberto Ospina, the top commander of Colombia's armed forces, claimed the attack was an accident, and that soldiers had mistaken the agents for leftist rebels. But ballistic investigators said some of the victims were shot in the back and at a range of only a few yards. And when police reinforcements arrived at the scene with lights flashing, they were driven back by gunfire.
On June 1, the day Iguaran announced his findings, seven soldiers and their unit commander, Col. Bayron Carvajal--an SOA graduate who was not at the scene but is believed to have planned and directed the ambush from Cali, the departmental capital--were arrested in connection with the killing. Seven more soldiers were ordered to turn themselves in on June 17. All will face charges of aggravated homicide.
According to an article by Miguel Suarez, Director of Radio Cafe Stereo, the massacre likely stems from a conflict between Dijin director Oscar Naranjo Trujillo--described by AP as "one of Washington's most trusted allies in the war on drugs"--and powerful drug trafficker and paramilitary leader Diego Fernando Murillo, known as "Don Berna."
Naranjo is the brother of drug trafficker Juan David Naranjo, arrested in Germany last May 3. [AP 6/17/06; Article by Miguel Suarez posted on Colombia Indymedia 6/18/06]
In Washington on June 9, the US House of Representatives voted 174-229 against an amendment introduced by Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), which would have cut US aid to Colombia's military and police next year by 5%, $30 million. [AP 6/17/06]
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