Ecuador, in mourning, seeks to recover corpses of murdered journalists

Ⓒ AFP – RODRIGO BUENDIA – | Candles and posters during a tribute in Quito, on April 13, 2018, to members of the murdered journalistic team

Dismayed by the murder of two journalists and a driver of the newspaper El Comercio at the hands of dissidents of the Colombian ex guerrilla of the FARC involved in drug trafficking, Ecuador seeks to recover the bodies while unleashing its fury against the murderers.

In its editorial on Saturday, the newspaper asks the governments of Ecuador and Colombia “all the explanations” of what happened since the three Ecuadorians were kidnapped on March 26 in the coastal town of Mataje, on the convulsed Colombian border, where They made a report about violence.

“With truth and detail, by the right of public opinion, the families of our colleagues and society,” says the newspaper, one of the most influential in the country.

Neither Quito nor Bogota were able to determine where they died or where their corpses are, and both governments also have opposite versions of the place where the events took place.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed that Ecuador, Colombia and the families of the victims requested their collaboration to recover the bodies of journalist Javier Ortega (32 years old), photographer Paúl Rivas (45) and driver Efraín Segarra ( 60).

The agency added that also the “group led by Guacho”, responsible for the crime, asked him to cooperate with the delivery.

These humanitarian operations are usually done with great reserve and transcend few details. The head of the ICRC in Colombia, Christoph Harnisch, anticipated asking for understanding about the “confidential nature of much of the information”.

Visibly hurt and outraged, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno confirmed the death of journalists on Friday, after the appearance of some photos that prove his execution.

The last time they were seen alive was in a video released on April 3, in which they appeared with chains around their necks, crying out for a deal with the captors.

Your case, condemned by the international community, add in pain to a country that had never suffered so cruelly the problems arising from drug trafficking in Colombia.

The information, which has arrived in droppers, rumors and false data have given it more drama.

Until midnight on Friday a hundred people, many of them with candles in their hands, gathered in silence in front of the government house, in the center of Quito, in a vigil in homage to the dead.

– A for Guacho –

After the release of the photos, Moreno had given Thursday a twelve-hour deadline for the captors to deliver a proof of life.

Once the ultimatum was over by noon on Friday, Colombia and Ecuador began a hunt for those responsible in the porous and jungle border, one of the strategic points on the Pacific route to transport cocaine to the United States through Central America.

The government decreed four days of official mourning.

The Ecuadorian Armed Forces indicated at night that in the area of ​​Mataje they arrested nine “suspects” and seized weapons and ammunition.

The Colombian Defense Minister, Luis Carlos Villegas, who arrived in Quito with the highest military and police authorities in his country, reported that operations on the Colombian side were launched “from Tumaco and Cali” in the southwest.

“We will maintain this deployment in coordination with Ecuador through helicopters, aircraft, and Army personnel,” he added.

On the morning of this Saturday, no further details of the operations were known.

From the beginning, the Colombian authorities accused the Oliver Sinisterra Front of kidnapping, which separated itself from the peace process signed with the FARC, the once most powerful guerrilla in America, and dedicated itself to drug trafficking.

With between 70 and 80 men, that organization is under the orders of Guacho, for whom the two countries announced a reward of 230,000 dollars.

The professor of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (Flacso) Fernando Carrión warns that an exclusively military approach to drugs can unleash a great loss of human lives, kidnappings and extreme violence as happened in Mexico during the Felipe Calderón administration (2006- 2012).

“In depressed areas like this border, an economic policy is required so that there is substitution of crops, so that the income of its inhabitants does not come from the narcotics, but from the legal economies. There are issues of economics, politics and obviously of military issues, “the security expert told AFP.

The unprecedented violence in Ecuador, which has left seven dead and four dozen injured, is a consequence of the peace agreement that led to the disarmament of the FARC, an organization that controlled territories that are now in dispute between rebellious deserters and gangs. paramilitary origin.

Terms of service