During an online news conference broadcasted trough the army's Facebook account, Zapatero said that out of the 118 soldiers and army officials, 45 were fired while the remaining 73 are facing criminal and disciplinary investigations by the attorney general and procurator's offices.
The revelations come amid accusations of sexual violence against young women by members of the army, which sparked after June 27, 2020, when seven Colombian soldiers confessed after being arrested for charges of sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl from the Embera Katio Indigenous group.
Organizaciones de mujeres, realizaron un plantón frente al batallon militar Pichincha en Cali, Colombia, rechazando la violación por parte de un grupo de integrantes del ejército a una menor indígena y exigiendo todo el peso de la ley para los militares implicados.@teleSURtvpic.twitter.com/BEv3tRWOxA
"Women's organizations suffer a sit-in in front of the Pichincha military battalion in Cali, Colombia, rejecting the violation by a group of members of the army of an indigenous minor and demanding the full weight of the law for the military involved."
Today's figures are the results of an investigation that started back in 2016, as the army chief said that the institution would apply a "zero tolerance" policy regarding sexual abuse of minors.
"I will not tolerate any type of conduct distant from ethical principles, moral values, and good customs," Zapateiro said. "There are no second chances, and all the people involved will be fired immediately", he added as the army soldiers and officials will face the correspondent legal procedures.
Such procedures will be "different in each case" and the investigation will extend to events dating 2010 and "as further as we (the army) can go."
The army chief also denied that his institution had made a systemic effort to protect army members related to sexual violence against minors, yet did not discuss allegations of sexual harassment made by female soldiers in recent months.