The men who intimidated civilians, including women and children, in the municipality of Tierralta, Cordoba department, on Tuesday, September 12, were members of the military. The soldiers, dressed as dissidents of the FARC, intimidated the population in a rural area of the Cordoban municipality. This has been officially confirmed by sources from the national Army.
The soldiers allegedly disguised themselves as members of a dissident FARC unit operating in the area, reaching the El Manso rural area. The statement released by the Army states that “it was possible to ascertain that possibly soldiers from the 22nd Infantry Battalion, Batalla de Junín, of the Eleventh Brigade, may be involved in a possible act of violence against the civilian population and individuals under constitutional special protection.”
The Army added that “as soon as the information was known, an inspecting commission was dispatched, and they are currently at the scene verifying the processes and procedures carried out by the military unit. Likewise, the relevant authorities have been informed, and the corresponding disciplinary inquiry will be initiated in accordance with the parameters established by Law 1862 of 2017.
Prosecutor’s Office to Question Over 30 Soldiers
Meanwhile, the Attorney General of the Nation, Francisco Barbosa, announced that more than 30 soldiers, 2 non-commissioned officers, and 1 officer from the Eleventh Brigade will be interrogated as part of the investigation into the episode where disguised soldiers threatened the civilian population, residents of Tierralta.
Barbosa also emphasized that he will not tolerate interference from the Military Penal Justice in the case, which should be subject to investigation by the Attorney General’s Office. “I have been insisting throughout this year that it is not the Executive’s role to conduct any type of judicial investigation. The investigation will be carried out by the Attorney General’s Office, and we will not allow the Military Penal Jurisdiction to interfere in an investigation related to the human rights of rural populations in this country,” stated Prosecutor Barbosa.
Petro Warns Against Returning to Paramilitarism
The President of Colombia has not been slow to react to such a serious incident. He did so by pointing out the mistake it would be for some army units to return to the tactics of past paramilitarism.
“Returning to paramilitarism and land dispossession would be the worst military error of the armed forces. This cannot happen in this government. It is the same army that must publicly present its own investigation into these events alongside the government,” the president wrote on X.
In this regard, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Helder Giraldo, came forward to defend the institution while also emphasizing their determination to see the investigation through and punish those responsible for the incident. Giraldo stressed that this was an isolated incident and not a policy directed from the Army.
“As soon as we learned of the alleged involvement of members of the National Army, the following actions were taken: first, we instructed the Inspector General of the Armed Forces, which is the highest authority we have for clarifying these types of situations, to go to the scene to verify and establish the truth and responsibility for this action,” said the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Colombia.