Colombia opens investigation into former general after spying accusations

By Luis Jaime Acosta BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia will open an investigation into a former top general, the country's attorney general's office said on Monday, following local media reports alleging the army spied on judicial officials, journalists and other military personnel. It is the latest in a long series of spying scandals in the Andean country, including accusations that military officials spied on negotiators at talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, which eventually led to a 2016 peace accord

Reuters January 14, 2020 01:13:32 IST
Colombia opens investigation into former general after spying accusations

Colombia opens investigation into former general after spying accusations

By Luis Jaime Acosta

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia will open an investigation into a former top general, the country's attorney general's office said on Monday, following local media reports alleging the army spied on judicial officials, journalists and other military personnel.

It is the latest in a long series of spying scandals in the Andean country, including accusations that military officials spied on negotiators at talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels, which eventually led to a 2016 peace accord. Other investigations have been unable to identify those responsible for alleged spying.

"The Attorney General's Office today begins an investigation in relation to these events. Given that a general of the republic is mentioned, obviously it corresponds to office's official in the Supreme Court," Interim Attorney General Fabio Espitia told journalists.

The investigation into former General Nicacio de Jesus Martinez, who stepped down last year, comes after local magazine Semana published a Sunday cover story alleging spying on politicians, magistrates, members of the military and journalists.

In a statement, Martinez denied any responsibility for illegal efforts to intercept communications and said he would take legal action against his accusers.

"I am completely removed from these kind of illegal and injurious actions", said Martinez, who became head of the military in 2018.

The government has said the former general left his post in December for personal reasons. His retirement came after he denied putting pressure on high-ranking officers to sharply increase the number of rebels and gang members killed or captured.

Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo ordered a review of military intelligence work conducted during the last decade. He told journalists the government rejects persecution, tracking or illegal interceptions and will have zero tolerance with illegal acts and corruption within the armed forces.

"If we discover irregularities, the government will demand that those responsible are sanctioned in an exemplary manner," Trujillo said.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by David Gregorio)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.