Colombia is militarizing its border with Ecuador, following episodes of violence and the declaration of “internal armed conflict” in the neighboring country. The actions of criminal gangs have resulted in 10 deaths and more than 100 police and prison officials being held by inmates as of yesterday, January 10, according to Ecuadorian authorities. The Colombian operation has been confirmed by General Helder Fernan Giraldo, commander of the Armed Forces, who stressed that there is direct communication with the Ecuadorian government, with which several support operations have been carried out.
Colombian authorities are preparing to deal with situations which could possibly arise from the escalation of violence in Ecuador. The security forces announced that they will block the passage of criminal leaders with border controls.
Preventing the regional expansion of violence
With this measure, Colombia is trying to prevent the expansion of violence into the country, with the entry of drug traffickers into Colombian territory from neighboring Ecuador. This was also confirmed by the Minister of Defense, Ivan Velasquez, who said that an operation is being coordinated with Ecuadorian authorities for the exchange of information, as well as to confront armed groups and criminal gangs that are present in the binational territory. He also reiterated that they are willing to help the government of President Daniel Noboa “in whatever they need”.
“As Mr. President has indicated, we are willing to collaborate with the Ecuadorian authorities with all means at our disposal. We have established police controls at the border,” said the minister.
For his part, General Giraldo explained that the militarization of the southern border is designed to help combined operations with Ecuador, a country that has been facing an unprecedented security crisis for a few days.
“Through the joint command number three, which specifically has this jurisdiction, we have deployed a wide device to lend a hand to our brother country of Ecuador, and we have been carrying out combined operations with the Ecuadorian authorities, that is, operations of interoperability of forces; we are developing capabilities, training and exchange of information,” said General Giraldo at a press conference.
Border controls by land, air and river
Colombia has mobilized national police and army units to control border crossings by land, air and river. In this regard, the deployment of up to 200 troops has been announced to control formal and informal crossings between the two countries.
Likewise, official sources have confirmed the use of military intelligence to prevent criminal activities that may affect the populations near the border, as well as the people using the border crossing points. Two Black Hawk helicopters from the Colombian Army and the Colombian Aerospace Force will remain in the area. In addition, unmanned aircraft will also be used to monitor the area in real time.
The National Army reported that troops are already present on the Rumichaca International Bridge, the main border crossing, in coordination with Ecuadorian authorities, as well as in Chiles, Cuaspud Carlosama and the village of La Victoria de Ipiales”.
Peru will also reinforce its border
Similar action is being taken in Peru, which shares more than 1,500 kilometers of border with Ecuador. The country has decreed a state of emergency for sixty days on its northern border and has reinforced surveillance with police and military. In the area, the Ecuadorian army reported the capture of two “terrorists” in the border area with Peru. These individuals were found in possession of various weapons, including rifles and revolvers, as well as radios and sixty-four packets of marijuana.
Images from Peru’s Canal N television showed a police cordon in place on the main Peruvian-Ecuadorian border bridge. Likewise, the Peruvian government, along with the other regional governments, has expressed its support for the government of Ecuador. “The Government of Peru expresses its support for the Government of President Daniel Noboa and for democracy and stability in Ecuador, wishing a prompt reestablishment of peace and security in that country,” said the Peruvian Foreign Ministry in a statement.