The dissidents of the now demobilized FARC group, who killed the three Ecuadorean journalists last week, have announced that they have suspended the operation supposed to deliver their bodies to the International Committee of the Red Cross, alleging military presence in the surroundings in a communique released Monday.
FARC Leader Condemns Murder of Journalists as ‘Barbarian’
Following the announcement, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa and her Colombian counterpart Maria Angela Holguin, as well as both countries Defense Ministers Patricio Zambrano and Luis Carlos Villegas, and Ecuador’s Interior Minister Cesar Navas gave a press conference at Quito’s Presidential Palace.
They all committed to reinforcing security measures and human resources at the border in order to tackle the drug-trafficking groups operating in the area, especially the one led by “El Guacho” —held responsible for the assassination of the 3 journalists.
Navas went on to meet the victims’ relatives, while Espinosa is due to go to the Permanent Council of the Organization of the American States in Washington in order to address security issues at the Ecuadorean-Colombian border.
Journalist Javier Ortega, photographer Paul Rivas, and driver Efrain Segarra were kidnapped by Oliver Sinisterra Front group on March 26 in Ecuador’s northern border in Mataje, Esmeraldas province, while reporting on the increasing violence in the region for the daily El Comercio.
The Colombian government considers the group a FARC splinter group that didn’t agree with the 2016 peace agreement between the former Marxist insurgent group and the Colombian government. Nevertheless, the criminal group has no connection with the democratic political party the Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons, also known as FARC, which was formed after the group’s demobilization.