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U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command badge (Colby T. Hauser/USACIDC via U.S. Army)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is looking into allegations that American soldiers sexually assaulted women and girls in Colombia.

The allegations were made last week in a report issued by the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, according to news reports.

The FARC, an insurgent group that has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, has been accused of numerous atrocities, including rape and sexual slavery.

“U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command will, after coordinating with Colombian authorities, initiate an investigation into any credible allegations of sexual assault or criminal acts committed by U.S. soldiers while in that country,” said Christopher Grey, a spokesman with Army CID, the command’s common acronym. “We take the issue very seriously and will aggressively pursue all credible allegations.”

Grey emphasized that no criminal investigation has been launched, and the recently initiated cooperation with the Colombian government is not a joint investigation.

This isn’t the first time that U.S. servicemembers have been accused of sex-related crimes in Colombia. An underage Colombian girl claimed that she was raped in 2007 by a U.S. soldier and an American military contractor. Grey said Army CID looked into those allegations but determined they were unfounded.

Army CID just learned of the latest allegations, according to Grey.

“New allegations that have been recently reported are new allegations that we have no record of ever previously being reported,” he said.

Determining their credibility will be no easy task, according to Grey.

“This takes a lot of legwork to be able to pursue something like this,” he said. “It takes time and effort to substantiate these type of things.”

In the past, the U.S. military has deployed troops to Colombia to assist the Bogota government in its battles with insurgent groups and drug traffickers.

harper.jon@stripes.com Twitter: @JHarperStripes

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