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Colombia's defence minister steps down


Colombian defence minister Rodrigo Rivera Salazar.

BOGOTA (AP): Colombia’s defence minister has resigned after a year in office amid a rise in guerrilla attacks and other violence in the cocaine-producing nation.

Rodrigo Rivera is to be replaced by Juan Carlos Pinzon, a top aide to President Juan Manuel Santos.

Pinzon was a deputy defence minister under Santos in the previous administration.

River told reporters Wednesday that kidnapping and murder were down on his watch. But he acknowledged that massacres were up 4 per cent and acts of terrorism up 3 per cent.

Colombia has Latin America’s longest-running civil conflict. Leftist rebel groups have been active since the 1960s and far-right criminal bands abound. Drug trafficking fuels the conflict.

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