RealNews

Colombia Asks U.S. to Hand Over Pilots in Bombing Probe

Colombia’s Attorney General’s office said on Tuesday that it asked the United States to locate and deliver three American pilots allegedly linked to a 1998 bombing that killed 17 civilians and strained bilateral ties. The office said it wanted Arthur McClintock, Jose Orta and Charlie Denny to respond to allegations by Colombian air force pilots that the privately-contracted U.S. surveillance crew members supplied the coordinates for the attack. The subpoena request comes a year after Washington cut off aid to the air force unit responsible for the bombing, the 1st Air Combat Command, arguing that it stalled investigations into whether pilots knowingly hit civilian targets. Local media reported on Sunday that the United States has also asked for the removal of Air Force Gen. Hector Velasco over the incident. Velasco has argued the bombing was “a set up” and criticized the cut-off in aid. U.S. officials were not immediately available for comment on Tuesday. In a disaster that investigators are still trying to clear up, Colombian air force pilots dropped a U.S.-made cluster bomb on the town of Santo Domingo in December 1998 — killing five children and 12 others near the border with Venezuela. More than 30 people were injured by shrapnel. Full Story

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