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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
Colombia intelligence chief quits
Colombia's former intelligence chief Jorge Noguera
Mr Noguera asked the authorities to investigate the accusations
Colombia's intelligence chief has quit amid allegations that his security agency was infiltrated by the main right-wing paramilitary group.

President Alvaro Uribe accepted the resignation of Jorge Noguera, the head of the Administrative Security Department (DAS).

Mr Noguera denied the accusations, which were published in a local newspaper.

President Uribe also dismissed the agency's deputy director, Jose Narvaez.

The daily El Tiempo reported that DAS officers were secretly taped while discussing alleged plans by a close aide to Mr Noguera to sell intelligence information to Colombia's paramilitaries.

The newspaper also claimed that Mr Narvaez asked for the recording to be made to ensnare his boss in the scandal, revealing deep divisions within the agency.

Mr Narvaez denied any wrongdoing.

President Uribe agreed that the two officials should leave the organisation to put an end to the crisis, according to officials.

The Colombian vice-minister of defence, Andres Penate, has taken over the DAS while the government investigates the allegations.

The state security agency has been hit by a string of other scandals recently, including alleged misappropriation of funds.

A regional chief in north-west Colombia has also been accused of fabricating a plot to assassinate President Uribe in order to take credit for foiling the attack.

Colombia's 40-year conflict has seen left-wing rebels fighting right-wing paramilitaries and state forces. Tens of thousands of civilians are known to have died.

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