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Ecuador Will Strengthen Security on Border with Colombia Following Guerrilla Attack

By Dialogo
September 16, 2010

Ecuador will strengthen its security framework on its border with Colombia as the result of an attack by the FARC guerrilla group on the Colombian police that left eight agents dead last Friday, Security Minister Miguel Carvajal announced.

“In Ecuador, this obliges us to strengthen our security policy on the border with the presence of the armed forces, of the police,” Carvajal said, referring to the rebel action in the Colombian town of San Miguel (in the southern part of the country), in which four uniformed personnel were also wounded.

The minister recalled that his country had already reinforced its military presence in the region following the Colombian bombardment of a clandestine FARC base in Ecuador on 1 March 2008, which killed twenty-five people, including the guerrilla group’s second-ranking leader, Raúl Reyes, and led to a break in relations between the two countries that lasted twenty-one months.

“We’re going to maintain this policy, which is to have a military presence, but at the same time a strong presence of the state,” the minister told public broadcaster ECTV, reiterating Quito’s request to Bogotá to increase its vigilance over its border territory.

“With this, we hope to stabilize the border (where Ecuador has seven thousand soldiers) and check any irregular activity that could clandestinely affect our country,” Carvajal emphasized.

Due to the attack in San Miguel, Ecuador and Colombia activated the Combifron, a mechanism through which the authorities of both countries exchange intelligence information. Quito also increased its border patrols.

The minister lamented the offensive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, Marxists) in several regions and expressed his confidence that the neighboring country will soon be within sight of “a comprehensive peace.”

“This is not a time for violence in Latin America; nothing justifies these kinds” of actions, he maintained.