Colombian Rebels Killed In Strike Near Ecuador Border

By Dialogo
September 19, 2011

At least four guerrillas were killed when Colombian Air Force planes bombed a rebel camp located near the border with Ecuador on September 15, police told AFP.

The camp, belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), was located less than a mile away from the border with Ecuador in the southern province of Nariño.

“Up to now we have registered the death of four guerrillas. We believe that there were 30 more in the camp as well as their commander, known by his alias ‘Euclides,’” a police spokesman said.

In an operation that began on September 15 at dawn, security forces entered the area and found explosives, weapons and computers belonging to the rebels, the spokesman said.

“Euclides” took command of the regional FARC unit in March after the previous leader, Oliver Solarte, was killed in a police operation, officials said.

The FARC unit normally operates in the neighboring province of Putumayo, which also touches the Peruvian border, but apparently moved west into Nariño, which reaches the Pacific Ocean.

The southern Nariño region is among Colombia’s most violent due to the presence of FARC rebels, criminal gangs and former paramilitaries who were demobilized between 2003 and 2006.

The three groups are engaged in an ongoing battle over control of the lucrative coastal Pacific drug trafficking routes, according to police.

The Colombian government has been battling the FARC – Latin America’s oldest rebel movement, estimated to have some 8,000 fighters – since 1964.