Colombia and Ecuador resumed preliminary border protection talks in Quito on Monday on the back of a growing presence of rogue guerrilla groups along the border, announced Colombia’s Ministry of Defense.
Bogota sent an envoy of 29 representatives, chiefly members of the armed forces, to Ecuador to “reinforce, improve and optimize the work and fight against crime in that area.”
The reactivation of the Binational Border Commission is set to reinvigorate the fractured border after the killing of two journalists and their driver by dissident FARC guerrillas in the border region last week.
The two countries have vowed to work together in military intelligence and operations.
“Ecuador can rest assured that Colombia will continue to provide all its cooperation until those responsible for these events are captured,” said Minister of Defense Luis Carlos Villegas.
Both governments had previously vowed to clamp down hard on illegal operations at the south-western border in Colombia’s Nariño province, but these talks are set to consolidate ideas and integrate military operations.
“The integrated work of the Armed Forces of Colombia and Ecuador will restore the confidence and security in the border that both nations share, especially to combat the threats of that region, especially alias ‘Guacho’,” the Ministry of Defense said.
The announcement follows the killings of three Ecuadorean nationals, two journalists and their driver, at the hands of the splinter group of the now-demobilized FARC guerrilla organization.
Guacho, believed to be the head of one of the dissident rebel factions in the area, is one of the most wanted persons in the country. The Ecuadorean is allegedly responsible for the deaths of eight Colombian peasants in Tumaco in October 2017.
Ecuador President Lenin Moreno issued an ultimatum to Guacho, signalling how the rebel leader had “ten days to turn himself in” or otherwise he would “accompany our dear brothers in transit.”
The bilateral talks are set to move from Quito to Esmeraldas, an Ecuadorian province bordering Colombia, where the killings of the journalists took place.