Colombia’s defense ministry has acknowledged army misconduct in illegal “forced” recruitment of citizens exempt from military service, reported El Espectador newspaper.
Juan Carlos Pinzon, defense secretary, announced that there will be an investigation into allegations of illegal recruitment “raids” by the army.
The Colombian military has in the past been accused of forced and irregular recruitment of young people and citizens exempt from military service.
In March 2014, the army was reprimanded for recruiting a university student who had already presented his official papers exempting him from armed service.
Pinzon said that in the next week action would be taken against anyone responsible for organizing illegal “raids” to force citizens into the army. He clarified that such practice is already classified as illegal by the Colombian army, reported El Espectador.
Government secretary, Hugo Zarrate, complained to local media that in the towns of Kennedy, Patio Bonito, Tunjuelito, Puente Aranda, Suba and Antonio Nariño, a group of soldiers had undertaken a series of recruitment procedures that are in breach of the law.
Zarrate denounced the illegal recruitment processes on his Twitter page, saying that no child should be recruited.
“@Gobiernoaldia: “Ningún joven puede ser retenido para cuestiones de reclutamiento”
— Hugo Ernesto Zarrate (@HeZarrate) April 4, 2014
Defense Minister Pinzon did however support the army in its official recruitment process, saying that, “there is no greater honor,” than “serving the country through the Armed Forces.”
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