Ecuador Battles FARC, 5 Years After Death of Raul Reyes

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Ecuadorean armed forces have reported two confrontations with Colombian rebels in a week, as the country marks five years since the bombing raid that killed FARC commander alias “Raul Reyes.”

On March 23, soldiers discovered three suspected rebel bases following a clash with alleged guerrillas in the Putumayo region of Sucumbios province, which borders on Colombia, reported newspaper El Universo. On March 27, the army again confronted suspected Colombian rebels in Sucumbios, and discovered more guerrilla supplies, reported news agency EFE.

The announcements came as the country marked five years since Colombian forces crossed into Ecuador to bomb a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) camp, killing the guerrillas’ second-in-command, Luis Edgar Devia Silva, alias “Raul Reyes.” The operation pushed Ecuador to increase its efforts in the Colombian border region, as El Comercio sets out in a report from the site (see video, below).

Earlier this month authorities announced that they had captured 19 suspected Colombian guerrillas and destroyed 19 presumed bases and nine hideouts in Ecuadorean territory in 2012.

InSight Crime Analysis

The Ecuadorean government said recently that it had made significant inroads combating the FARC on its soil, claiming guerrilla presence in the border region was “much less” in recent months. However, field research conducted by InSight Crime in December 2012 indicated that the rebels still have an active presence in the region and operate there with ease. 

The FARC have used the Ecuadorean border area as a rest area and logistical hub for many years. Their presence there, and Ecuador’s efforts against them, has been a highly-politicized issue since Colombia’s 2008 operation, with President Rafael Correa accused of accepting campaign contributions from the guerrillas, and the army accused of turning a blind eye to rebel activity.

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