HomeNewsBriefShootout on Colombia-Ecuador Border Claims 6 Lives
BRIEF

Shootout on Colombia-Ecuador Border Claims 6 Lives

ECUADOR / 9 AUG 2013 BY JEREMY MCDERMOTT EN

The Ecuadorean army engaged a Colombian "irregular group," most likely FARC rebels, in a pitched battle that resulted in the deaths of an Ecuadorean officer and five Colombians, again showing the strategic importance of the frontier to illegal actors.

The firefight took place in Ecuador's border province of Sucumbios, which sits opposite its Colombian counterpart, Putumayo, a major coca growing area (see map below). Ecuadorean security forces had identified an illegal camp, and when they closed in fighting occurred, with the Ecuadorean forces also being engaged from the Colombian side of the border.

The Ecuadorean Foreign Minister, Ricardo Patiño, requested that the Colombian government step up its presence along the border, to prevent the movement of illegal actors into Ecuador. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The "irregular group" that the Ecuadorean authorities referred to is almost certainly the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which has a strong presence in the border provinces of Putumayo and Nariño, and which has long used Ecuador as a rest area, as well as a major logistics hub. The Southern Bloc of the FARC uses Ecuador to secure supplies, medical support, and a steady stream of explosives, munitions and weapons.

The clash took place not far from where FARC commander Luis Edgar Devia Silva, alias "Raul Reyes," was killed in an aerial bombardment by the Colombian Air Force in a rebel camp in Sucumbios in March 2008.

This clash with FARC rebels is not an isolated incident. Since the bombing of the camp of Raul Reyes, the Ecuadorean military has increased its patrols along the border, destroying FARC encampments they have found.

Despite claims to the contrary, the FARC maintains a permanent presence in Ecuador, but this presence is increasingly camouflaged, with rebels no longer wearing uniforms and openly carrying weapons, but moving around in civilian dress, and living among the border communities. There have even been suggestions that the rebels are promoting the sowing of drug crops in Ecuador.

While there is the presence of other Colombian illegal groups in Ecuador, most particularly the Rastrojos, this tends to be not in Sucumbios, but the neighboring province of Esmeraldas, which lies on the Pacific coast. Ecuador has become an important transshipment point for Colombian cocaine, with groups like Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel establishing a presence in the country.

Sucumbios, Ecuador


View Larger Map

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.

Tags

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

BOLIVIA / 22 APR 2013

Deserters from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and regional drug cartels are working as assassins in Bolivia, according…

ECUADOR / 31 MAR 2015

Ecuadorian children are leaving, by the dozens, for the United States. They don't carry visas and they pack light. …

COLOMBIA / 20 AUG 2018

A fatal bus crash in Ecuador has drawn attention to a new drug trafficking method devised by the ever more…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Apure Investigation Makes Headlines

22 OCT 2021

InSight Crime’s investigation into the battle for the Venezuelan border state of Apure resonated in both Colombian and Venezuelan media. A dozen outlets picked up the report, including Venezuela’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.