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A Spanish military officer was dismissed after two soldiers were killed during training

A Spanish military officer was dismissed after two soldiers were killed during training

A Spanish army officer, who was leading a training exercise that led to the drowning of two young soldiers at the end of December in the south of the country, was relieved of his duties, according to an announcement issued by the Ministry of Defense, seen by AFP on Thursday.

The ministry's official bulletin published on Thursday said Captain Ignacio Zuniga Morillas “ceases his current assignment and moves to active duty status pending assignment to the mission.”

Two young soldiers under his command drowned on December 21 during training at the Cerro Moriano base near Cordoba (south).

The army initially announced that they died “during training,” without giving details of the circumstances, but the press was quick to report an error in the training.

The military judiciary is investigating the captain, lieutenant, and sergeant in this case.

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Luis Romero, a lawyer for the family of Carlos Leon Rico, one of the two drowned soldiers, told AFP: “We are satisfied” with the termination. He added, “But we wonder what action they will take with the lieutenant?”

From the beginning of the matter, Leon Rico's family requested that all senior officers of the base be relieved of their duties.

According to Luis Romero, the two soldiers, aged 24 and 34, died while crossing a frozen lake, carrying their equipment, during training in which dozens of soldiers participated.

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Leon Rico also carried 3.5 kilograms of excess weight in his backpack, which was imposed by his superiors as punishment, bringing the total load to 12 kilograms.

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According to the lawyer, the exercise did not include a lifebuoy, as it should, nor rescue boats, but rather a simple rope pulled to guide the soldiers.

At the beginning of January, the Minister of Defense of the leftist government, Margarita Robles, confirmed that the armed forces would “cooperate with justice without any reservation.”

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“If there are errors, they should be known,” Robles added.

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