Army chiefs have suspended 11 officers after a young officer choked to death on his own vomit during a hazing ritual.

2nd Lt Matias Ezequiel Chirino – from Rio Cuarto, in the Cordoba Province of Argentina – died after the initiation ceremony at his new regiment.

Officials say the 22-year-old choked to death early on Sunday.

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An autopsy gave his cause of death as bronchial aspiration caused by the consumption of large amounts of alcohol and food.

Grieving dad Ezequiel Chirino claims his son had been forced to drink alcohol and throw himself into a pool at night in the cold, among other things.

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Matias was one of three soldiers being initiated into Artillery Group No 3 of Paso de los Libres, Corrientes Province.

Nearly a dozen officers have been suspended since Matias’s death

The other two being initiated are among the 11 officers who have been suspended.

Ezequiel pointed the finger at two officers in particular.

“He was killed, without a doubt. It was not an accident,” said Matias’s father.

He called the incident “an abuse of authority” and said that those responsible “must go to jail”.

Ezequiel had taken his son to the army unit’s admission ceremony, and was staying in a hotel in Paso de los Libres when he received a phone call with the devastating news.

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Tragic Matias was forced to take part in an initiation ceremony
Tragic Matias was forced to take part in an initiation ceremony

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He said: “At eight in the morning the head of the detachment calls me and says, ‘Am I speaking to Matias Chirino’s dad?’ Come and get him because he’s dead’. With that coldness.”

Matias had graduated from El Palomar Military College after studying for four years and had joined the regiment in Paso de los Libres to complete his training as a military officer.

The Federal Court of Paso de los Libres is investigating the case and the army says it is co-operating with the inquiry.

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