An inquiry in Colombia has found that 6,402 civilians were killed by the military between 2002 and 2008 and falsely passed off as enemy combatants.
The number of killings, known as “false positives,” is almost three times higher than previous estimates.
The inquiry is by a special court looking into crimes committed during a half century of conflict between troops and left-wing rebels. A peace deal ending the conflict was signed in 2016.
“False positives” is the name given to the killings of young men – mainly from poor families – carried out by the Colombian army. The army’s aim was to pass them off as left-wing rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to boost its kill rate and give the impression it was winning the armed conflict against the group.
The investigation is being carried out by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, set up as part of the peace process after the left-wing rebels signed the 2016 peace deal with the government.