Colombia police chief stepping down

Colombia's national police chief, General Oscar Naranjo, has decided to step down because he is tired and feels it is time for a younger generation to take on the job, President Juan Manuel Santos announced.

Mr Santos said Gen Naranjo agreed to stay in the post until July at the request of the president and Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon.

"I do not think it is the moment for goodbyes ...," Mr Santos said of the chief.

"You can leave the directing of the police, but you will be drafted" to keep working for the government.

Gen Naranjo, 55, has been head of Colombia's police since 2007, and the president said the four-star general wanted to open the way for new blood in law enforcement. Mr Santos did not say who might replace the chief.

Gen Naranjo is known for his close ties to the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Under his command, Colombia's police scored successes against the country's drug cartels, guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries.

He became the chief under President Alvaro Uribe and was retained when Mr Santos assumed the presidency in August 2010.

The chief praised the 167,000 men and women in the police and expressed thanks for their service.

"Everything comes and everything goes, but it's good that this is happening now," Gen Naranjo said.

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