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Colombia Ousts General Accused of Corruption - 2003-11-18

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has fired an army general accused of misusing state funds.

A presidential statement says General Jorge Pineda Carvajal misused a secret state fund in 2001, when he was head of army intelligence. It did not provide details.

General Carvajal's dismissal follows the resignations last week of Colombia's armed forces commander, the defense minister, and the police commander.

Marta Lucia Ramirez, Colombia's first female defense minister, quit her job on November ninth amid pressure from top generals irritated at her management style and efforts to control corruption-prone military contracts.

Recent corruption scandals, particularly in the police force, have embarrassed President Uribe, whose government has received more than $2 billion in U.S. military aid in recent years to fight leftist rebels and the drug trade.

Mr. Uribe also suffered a political set-back in last month's defeat of a cost-cutting referendum.