Colombia: Border Violations


February 6, 2006: The government apologized to Ecuador for the aircraft incursion on January 30th. At the same time, and more importantly, Ecuador said it would watch its border area more carefully, and try to keep FARC out. That won't be easy. The border with Colombia is thinly populated and poorly served by roads. The FARC rebels in southern Colombia are increasingly getting found and chased by government troops and aircraft. The temptation to set up camps just across the border in Ecuador is strong.

February 3, 2006: A Dutch/US/British naval patrol operation off Colombia caught a ship coming north from Colombia, carrying 3.5 tons of cocaine. A British warship chased down smugglers and seized the drugs (which cost one of the drug cartels over $20 million in losses). .

February 2, 2006: Ecuador is sending more troops to its border with Colombia, as it becomes obvious that FARC rebels are trying to establish camps in remote areas, on the Ecuadorian side of the frontier. Over the weekend, Colombian aircraft crossed into Ecuador, while pursuing some FARC gunmen. The Colombians withdrew when they realized where they were, and Ecuadorian troops arrived to find a FARC camp, complete with stockpiles of weapons, documents and so on.

February 1, 2006: Another 2,500 AUC rebels have disarmed in northern Colombia. They surrendered 900 rifles, 130 pistols and eight trucks. This brings to over 20,000 the number of AUC fighters who have accepted the amnesty. Leftist groups like FARC and ELN refuse to make a similar deal, even as public opinion increasingly turns against them.




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