Bogota: Colombia has issued arrest warrants for 22 active and retired army officers and two civilians for their alleged involvement in an extrajudicial execution of 18 people, prosecutors said.
Sixteen of the killings occurred in 2007 during a military campaign in the Cesar department, with the victims initially recorded as combatants, they said late on Wednesday.
The other two killings took place in 2004, when the military reported that two guerillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) had been killed in the Antioquia department, with the victims later identified as civilians from a nearby town.
Prosecutors said several soldiers have come forward and testified about the selection of victims in the killings.
Hundreds of soldiers have been convicted in Colombia for extrajudicial executions that they allegedly carried out in order to be promoted and recognized within the military.
There are 22 generals under investigation for similar offenses.
The country`s armed conflict has dragged on for more than five decades, leaving 220,000 dead and some six million displaced.