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Colombia’s defense chief quits after cover-up claims

It comes after senator report reveals killing of 8 minors in August bombing of Colombian Armed Forces against FARC rebels

Susana Patricia Noguera Montoya with the Anadolu Agency Spanish wire   | 07.11.2019
Colombia’s defense chief quits after cover-up claims

CUNDINAMARCA, Colombia

Colombia’s defense minister resigned from his office on Wednesday, ahead of a Congress session scheduled on Nov. 13 for his censure motion.

Guillermo Botero’s move came after a congressional session on Tuesday where Senator Roy Barreras, from the Social Party of National Unity, presented a report which revealed that at least seven children were killed during an August bombing campaign against the dissidents of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) led by Gildardo Cucho.

The attorney general's office corrected the fatalities a day after, saying that eight minor were killed.

"Today, in a meeting with the president of the republic [Ivan Duque] to analyze the current political situation, he agreed that the most convenient thing was to submit a resignation from the minister of national defense position," Botero said in a statement.

In his resignation letter addressing Duque, the official said: "It is my duty as the minister of defense to have an adequate reading of the political situation, so I have decided to present resignation from the office of minister."

Botero would become the first minister of Colombia to be removed by the Congress with a censure motion, which he would face for the second time this year.

By the end of October, congressmen and human rights organizations already requested Botero’s dismissal and that of Interior Minister Nancy Patricia Gutierrez for an indigenous massacre that took place in the municipality of Tacueyo, northern Cauca department.

The first motion had been promoted by a group lawmaker from the opposition earlier this year.

They argued that Botero had conflicts of interest while running the defense office while he appeared on the board of directors of a private security company.

The initiative failed to be approved in the Chamber of Representatives after 20 congressmen voted in favor of the motion against 121 votes that opposed the move.

*Beyza Binnur Donmez from Ankara contributed to the story

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