Chile’s carabineros freeze Jungle Commando training in Colombia

SANTIAGO – Carabineros Director General Hermes Soto Monday said his force would freeze the Jungle Commando training programme in Colombia.

“We have no plans to continue sending people to train there,” he said.

This training programme has been heavily criticised after Mapuche communal leader Camilo Catrillanca was shot dead on November 14 during a raid by a Carabineros’ elite squad in the Temucuicui community of Ercilla, in the Region of Araucanía.

Chile’s government reportedly refused to withdraw the Carabineros force from the area but agreed to review their training with the Colombian police.

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Formally, the Carabineros rural violence team is called Task Force of Carabineros and is divided in two 40-men groups: one in La Araucanía and another in Biobío.

Of the 40 troops in La Araucanía, 23 were trained in Colombia, of which 15 received the “Jungle” course this year. The rest had gone to the coffee country in groups of two people, since 2007.

“There are no more police officers currently training in this area. Why is the course called Jungle Command? I do not know. The Colombian police call it that, not us,” said Soto, who underlined that none of the four personnel who were in the operation that resulted in Catrillanca’s death had been trained in Colombia.

Earlier this month but before Catrillanca’s death, Mapuche Council of All Lands spokesman Aucán Huilcamán had anticipated conflicts with the government would escalate and called the Carabineros’ Jungle Commando task force ”perverse.–MercoPress

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