US disciplines more staff over alleged misconduct

US President Barack Obama arrives at the Julio Cesar Turbay Ayala Convention Center on August 14, 2012 in Cartagena, Colombia. Mr Obama is in the Colombian city of Cartagena for the Summit of the Americas

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Five US army staff on President Obama's trip to Colombia may have been involved in "inappropriate conduct" along with several Secret Service agents sent home on Friday, officials said.

US Southern Command said the five had been staying at the same hotel as the agents. The allegations are said to involve prostitutes.

The Secret Service agents have now been suspended.

Mr Obama is in the city of Cartagena for the Summit of the Americas.

The US Southern Command said that the five members had violated curfew and would be investigated.

The personnel are not permitted to have contact with anyone and will return to the US with the rest of the group after the summit, officials said.

Apology

Gen Douglas Fraser, commander of the Southern Command, said he was "disappointed by the entire incident and [said] that this behavior is not in keeping with the professional standards expected of members of the United States military".

According to Reuters news agency, a policeman in Cartagena said at least one Secret Service agent had attempted to take a prostitute up to a hotel room without registering her.

In a statement on Saturday, the Secret Service said 11 employees had been put on administrative leave, and apologised for the distraction caused by the incident.

"This is standard procedure and allows us the opportunity to conduct a full, thorough and fair investigation into the allegations," it said in a statement.

The 11 employees included both special agents and Uniformed Division officers, the agency's assistant director said, according to the Associated Press.

The agency did not disclose details of the alleged behaviour.

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