WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A small number of the former Colombian soldiers accused of involvement in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise this month had received U.S. military training in the past, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
Haitian authorities have said Moise was shot dead at his home on July 7 by a unit of assassins including 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans.
Eighteen Colombians have been detained and three others were killed by police. Families and colleagues back in Colombia have told reporters the men were hired to act as bodyguards.
“A review of our training databases indicates that a small number of the Colombian individuals detained as part of this investigation had participated in past U.S. military training and education programs, while serving as active members of the Colombian Military Forces,” Lieutenant Colonel Ken Hoffman told Reuters.
Hoffman did not say how many of the detained Colombians had received training.
The U.S. military routinely trains service members from the region, he said, adding that the training “emphasizes and promotes respect for human rights, compliance with the rule of law, and militaries subordinate to democratically elected civilian leadership.”
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Frances Kerry)