Colombian soldiers captured eleven Ecuadorean soldiers, the Colombian government said Sunday.
The two officers and nine soldiers were caught 300 yards from the
frontier in Putumayo province on Saturday and will be handed over to
Ecuadorean armed forces on the border on Sunday, the Foreign Ministry
said in a statement.
Ties between U.S. ally Colombia and Ecuador have been tense since
March last year when Colombian troops raided across the border to kill
a Colombian FARC rebel commander in his camp in Ecuadorean territory.
Bogota and Quito have since sparred over accusations by Bogota that
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa’s government has backed the FARC and
complaints from Correa that Colombia fails to stop its U.S.-backed war
from spilling over the frontier.
The troop capture came as leftist Correa hosts a regional summit of
South America governments, where presidents will discuss Colombia’s
plan to increase U.S. troop access to its military bases.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe says the bases are an extension of
U.S. military cooperation for counter-drug operations. But South
American governments have expressed concern with Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, a fierce U.S. adversary, warning it could spark war in the region.
Colombia, the world’s No. 1 cocaine producer, has received more than $5
billion in mostly military aid from Washington to fight drug
traffickers and FARC rebels.
U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday denied the United States is
planning to set up military bases in Colombia as part of the upgraded
security agreement and has no intention of sending large numbers of
The plan is expected to increase the number of U.S. troops in
Colombia above the current total of less than 300 but not above 800,
the maximum permitted under the existing military pact, officials said. Reuters)