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Colombia's Army kills two children by mistake

Troopers opened fire after mistaken five people in a car for guerrillas. The other three occupants were also shot dead.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's hard-line against leftist insurgency took the lives of five innocent people last weekend, after National Army troopers opened fire over a car whose occupants failed to identify themselves. Two children believed to be 10 and 11, were among the victims of the shootout, as soldiers mistook them for guerrillas.

Military sources said that poor visibility made it impossible to see who was traveling through the area in western Colombia where the incident took place. Quickly, the Army sent General Martin Orlando Carreno, to the scene to investigate.

According to the same sources, the army was carrying out operations in the district of Cajamarca in search of left-wing rebels suspected of planning to erect a roadblock when they came across with the unfortunate men.

They said that the soldiers heard a car and shouted for its occupants to identify themselves. When the car turned back, the troops opened fire, only to discover that the occupants were civilians not guerrillas. Mist covered the region, severely hampering visibility, according to military sources.

 It is the second time in less than a month that the Colombian army has been involved in a fatal shooting. In the incident in Guaytarillla, in Narino in south-western Colombia, seven police officers and four civilians were shot dead in as yet unexplained circumstances by soldiers.

Both incidents came shortly after Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe praised to go on with his hard-line policy against leftist insurgency, despite a serious setback suffered in October, when the population said no to anumber of reforms fueled by his administration in a referendum.

The President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe Velez, was elected in 2002 because a hard core of 5.8 million voters in a population of about 44 million believed his promise that he would eradicate the guerillas by escalating the civil war in the country.

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