Sun, Jun 15, 2008 - Page 7 News List

Arrests made over alleged plot to kill Ecuador president

DPA , QUITO AND BOGOTA

Ecuadorian police arrested three Colombians and one Ecuadorian in connection with alleged plans to kill Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, Attorney General Washington Pesantez said on Friday.

Initial reports said the Colombians had links to extreme-right paramilitary groups in their own country. However, Colombian authorities said they were drug traffickers with ties to the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The suspects had allegedly taken photographs from their hotel, very close to the Ecuadorian presidential palace in Quito, and had gathered information about the building’s security. The authorities did not say whether they were armed at the time of the arrest.

Ecuador and Colombia have no diplomatic ties since Colombian forces conducted a cross-border rain onto Ecuadorian territory on March 1 to attack a FARC camp.

The two countries recently agreed to restore ties at the level of charges d’affaires.

Colombia has accused Correa’s government of having given support to FARC rebels. Correa has denied this and has accused Colombia of violating international law.

The Colombian government has offered its help to investigate the alleged plot to kill Correa.

“We are at their disposal. Should Ecuadorian authorities require any kind of cooperation, we will provide it to the full,” Colombian Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo told Colombian radio station Caracol.

However, he said that “there are no more paramilitary groups in Colombia,” after the United Self-Defense Groups of Colombia demobilized over the past years.

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