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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Colombia affirms FARC still operating camps in Ecuador

Colombia Reports, October 6, 2009

Colombia news - Ecuador border

Colombian media reported Tuesday that the FARC, the country’s oldest armed guerrilla group, is still operating jungle camps within the borders of neighboring Ecuador.

Defense Minister Gabriel Silva Lujan said both through an official government website and in interviews with Colombian media that he will deliver to his Ecuadorian counterpart a report on the presence of FARC in Ecuador.

In the announcement Silva Lujan was also urging Ecuador President Rafael Correa to act upon the intelligence.

"I will provide you with accurate information on the presence of FARC camps in their country, and I hope this information receives decisive action because we're sure that is also what President Correa and his entire government desires," said Silva Luján.

Silva Lujan was careful to say that Colombia is not implying a link between Correa’s government and the FARC, but he maintained that the guerrillas to this day are maintaining camps in neighboring Ecuador.

In 2008 Colombia raided FARC camps across the Border in Ecuador, an attack that killed 26 people - including guerrilla chief Raul Reyes - in the remote and largely unpatrolled jungle region. That raid strained relations between the two countries, breaking diplomatic ties and resulted in Ecuador calling to extradite former Colombian Minister
Juan Manuel Santos to face charges in Ecuador over the cross-border raid.

At the direction of Colombia President Alvaro Uribe, Silva Lujan said he will deliver information on the continued FARC operations wthin Ecuador’s borders to its government in “the coming days.” Silva also highlighted recent actions of Ecuadorian authorities against illegal armed groups.

“We welcome such behavior by Ecuadoran authorities, and we see through public statements that Ecuador will not tolerate the presence of illegal armed groups, nor the presence of illicit drug activities in their territory, that for us is a very positive sign," Silva Lujan said.

"All countries, all neighbors must be engaged for their own sake, in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking," he added.

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