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Colombia president lauds ex-minister after bombing dispute

BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia’s president is standing behind his former minister of defense even as his administration comes under fire for a bombing against a guerrilla group that left at least eight children and adolescents dead.

President Iván Duque praised Guillermo Botero at a ceremony Thursday, hailing his record and sidestepping any mention of the controversy that led to the minister’s resignation a day before.

Botero resigned Wednesday after a lawmaker accused Botero of failing to disclose that eight minors between the ages of 12 and 17 had been killed in a military operation against rebels.

Colombia’s chief prosecutor later confirmed the deaths.

The minister’s resignation follows several other incidents in which the military’s conduct has been questioned.

It also comes at a time when Duque’s administration is floundering amidst dismal public support.

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