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Colombia confirms that 13 of its former troopers are among the many assassination suspects.


A clearer image of the group that Haiti accuses of assassinating President Jovenel Moïse has emerged as officers within the Colombian protection ministry recognized 13 suspects by identify and mentioned that every one have been former members of the Colombian navy.

Two have been killed, the officers mentioned, and the opposite 11 are in custody. They mentioned some had traveled to Haiti as early as Might.

Up to now, some former members of the Colombian navy, which receives heavy monetary assist and coaching from the U.S. navy, have acted as employed weapons after their service.

Colombians are enticing to these on the lookout for navy assist, as a result of they typically have years of expertise preventing left-wing guerrillas and drug traffickers inside their very own nation — and are sometimes educated by U.S. consultants.

Colombian officers condemned the assault and mentioned they have been doing every part potential to help the Haitian authorities in its seek for the reality. Gen. Jorge Luis Vargas, the top of the nationwide police, mentioned that Colombian officers have been investigating 4 companies that they believed had recruited folks for the operation.

One of many suspects, Francisco Eladio Uribe, was being investigated final yr by the nation’s particular peace courtroom for murder, based on paperwork obtained by The New York Occasions. Mr. Uribe was accused of being concerned in a scandal known in Colombia as “false positives,” during which a whole lot of members of the navy have been accused of killing civilians and saying they have been fight casualties in a bid to indicate success within the nation’s lengthy civil warfare.

In an interview with W Radio, a lady who recognized herself as Mr. Uribe’s spouse mentioned that the 2 had been married for 18 years and had three youngsters, and that he had left house sooner or later after telling her that he had “an excellent job alternative.” She mentioned her husband had been investigated however exonerated within the navy scandal.

Colombian officers mentioned that among the accused had left Bogotá as early as Might and flown to Panama earlier than touring to the Dominican Republic after which to Haiti. Others, the officers mentioned, arrived within the Dominican Republic in early June, after which traveled to Haiti. The 2 nations share a Caribbean island, Hispaniola.

Normal Luis Fernando Navarro mentioned that the accused folks had left the navy between about 2002 and 2018 and that they have been concerned in “mercenary actions” with “purely financial” motives.

It isn’t clear whether or not the folks recruited for the operation knew the specifics of the duty they have been being assigned, based on John Marulanda, the top of the affiliation for retired navy officers.

Paul Angelo, a fellow on the Council on International Relations who research safety points, mentioned that Colombians had a historical past of being recruited into prison duties as a result of they often had restricted choices as soon as they left the armed forces.

“Colombia is a rustic that for much too lengthy had navy conscription, which fell on the shoulders of the poorest males within the nation,” he mentioned. “When an financial underclass is taught the best way to combat and the best way to conduct navy operations and little else, these expertise don’t switch readily to the civilian sector besides within the personal safety realm.”

A former officer in Colombia’s military, who requested to not be recognized, mentioned {that a} mercenary who traveled overseas may simply be paid about $2,700 a month, in contrast with a navy wage of about $300 a month — even for troopers with years of fight expertise.

“It’s not simply Haiti, it’s Kabul, Mexico, Yemen, Emirates,” he mentioned in a phone interview, itemizing the place former Colombian troopers have gone.

Sofía Villamil and Edinson Bolaños contributed reporting.