Two Colombians Arrested on Ecuadorean River for Possession of Explosives

By Dialogo
December 01, 2011

While on patrol along the border between the two countries, the Ecuadorean Army arrested two Colombians allegedly in possession of explosives, law enforcement sources announced.

The men were arrested while canoeing on the Putumayo River, when military personnel boarded their vessel for an inspection in which five drums containing dynamite, 300 meters of slow fuse, and detonators were found.

“They are not taking responsibility (for the material seized); they say that they are rural workers, that they were working right on the riverbank,” the men’s court-appointed lawyer, Frenito Reyes, declared to journalists.

The judge in the case, Walter Pío, expressed doubt about the arrested men’s story that they just happened to be in the place where the explosives, the amount of which was not specified, were found.

“It’s not very credible; they state that they were travelling in a canoe on the Putumayo River, that they saw the evidence with which they were found, and at that moment, the military officers arrested them on a whim,” the judge indicated to reporters.

On November 16, a member of the Ecuadorean military died and two more were wounded in an armed attack by alleged Colombian vessels on the San Miguel River (Sucumbíos).

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa attributed that incident to supposed fuel smugglers working for drug traffickers.

According to the authorities of both countries, the FARC guerrilla group, drug traffickers, and fuel smugglers operate along the roughly 700-km border between the two countries.