HomeNewsBriefFARC Dissidents Forming Criminal Groups in Ecuador: Reports
BRIEF

FARC Dissidents Forming Criminal Groups in Ecuador: Reports

ECUADOR / 9 AUG 2016 BY MIKE LASUSA EN

Recent reports suggest that dissident members of Colombia's main guerrilla group have begun forming new criminal structures in Ecuador, raising the possibility that others could follow in their footsteps as the group's leadership finalizes a peace deal with the Colombian government.

Residents and officials in the department of Sucumbíos on Ecuador's eastern border with Colombia have been warning about the rise of new armed groups in that area, possibly consisting of defectors from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia - FARC).

On August 9, the Ecuadoran news outlet El Comercio published an article based on an interview with a Sucumbíos resident referred to as Víctor M., who said he was kidnapped in late June and held by one such group for 20 days.

According to El Comercio, shortly after Víctor's release police arrested nine suspects in the kidnapping, seven of whom were Colombian citizens. The news outlet reported that local military intelligence officials confirmed that FARC defectors were among the group's members.

The July 29 bombing of a store in the town of Puerto El Carmen de Putumayo also rattled local residents, although no one was injured in the attack. The shop owner told El Universal that the bombing was a reprisal for refusing to pay extortion fees to an armed group calling themselves "M.R.A. Comuneros del Ecuador."

El Universal reports that local residents have observed the presence of FARC members in that area for years, but never before had they experienced attacks like the recent bombing.

InSight Crime Analysis

These preliminary reports suggest that FARC members in western Colombia could be abandoning the guerrilla group to pursue illegal activities that fighters would be expected to give up in the event of a peace agreement with the Colombian government. Members of at least one FARC faction -- the 1st Front of the Eastern Bloc -- have openly stated that they would not go along with the peace process. And based on extensive field research, InSight Crime estimates that up to 30 percent of the FARC's fighters could defect from a possible accord.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of the FARC Peace Process

Eastern Ecuador is an attractive location for would-be criminal defectors, as the FARC has long been involved in coca production in that area, selling the yield to Colombian criminal groups known as "bandas criminales," or BACRIM, or even Mexican groups like the Sinaloa Cartel. The Ecuadoran government has previously expressed concern that the peace agreement could lead to a proliferation of criminal activity in that country by dissenting FARC members, leading authorities there to ramp up security operations in border areas in recent months.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCAINE / 23 JUN 2021

In Ecuador’s coastal town of Posorja, boats are being set on fire and people are being killed, as this fishing…

COLOMBIA / 26 MAY 2014

On May 27, 1964 up to one thousand Colombian soldiers, backed by fighter planes and helicopters, launched an assault against…

COLOMBIA / 19 JUL 2016

Evolving relationships with criminal and paramilitary actors in several areas of Colombia could complicate efforts to establish concentration zones intended…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…