Colombia’s army chief resigns amid scandal

November 5th, 2008 - 4:46 am ICT by IANS  

Bogota, Nov 5 (IANS) Colombia’s Army Chief Gen. Mario Montoya Tuesday resigned amid a widening scandal over the killing of scores of civilians by his soldiers, Spain’s EFE reported.Montoya announced his resignation five days after President Alvaro Uribe sacked 27 army personnel, including three senior officers, for their alleged involvement in the killing of 20 civilians from the Soacha neighbourhood of the Colombian capital.

Their bodies were discovered in a mass grave in northeastern Colombian province of Norte de Santander, where the sacked personnel had been posted, the report said.

The soldiers claimed that the bodies were of insurgents killed in combat. Local residents maintained that the victims were innocent people. The incident has led to widespread protest.

Montoya Tuesday told reporters that he already sent his resignation letter to President Uribe for his acceptance.

The Colombian military receives around $500 million annually in aid from the US to fight the country’s largest leftist guerilla group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

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