3 March 2008

Ecuador Crime Scene Evidence Nails Lies of the Colombian President

By Decio Machado

Investigations by the Ecuadorian authorities have shone light on what really happened during the dawn of March 1, when the Colombian armed forces killed between 20 and 22 guerrillas in Ecuadorian territory. Raúl Reyes, number two in the FARC (Spanish acronym of the Colombian guerrilla group, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) command structure was killed in the ambush.

Images, testimonies of resident and of three guerrillas found alive, ballistic reports and Ecuadorian military intelligence demonstrate the heap of lies of the Colombian President, Alvaro Uribe. According to the Colombian version, the Front 48 of the FARC was being pursued on indication that Reyes would be present in a small settlement called Granada, near the Ecuadorian frontier but still in Colombian territory.

The Colombian Defence Minister, Juan Manuel Santos, indicated that during the operation the Colombian armed forces had been attacked from a FARC camp situated 1,800 metres from the border in Ecuadorian territory. The Colombian air force then located and attacked the guerrilla camp, taking into account the order not to violate the Ecuadorian air space. The Colombian armed forces later went in to ensure control of the place, leaving the Colombian police in charge till the arrival of the Ecuadorian army.

Investigations on the part of the Ecuadorian authorities show there was no combat on the side of the FARC unit which was attacked. With the exception of three of them keeping guard, the 18 killed were asleep in their undergarments; none of the guerrillas had the opportunity of fighting or surrendering. The arms in the camp were piled up. They did not have the chance even to reach for their rifles and grenades; they were massacred while asleep.

The testimonies of the residents of the area, as also the large craters on the camp ground, show that four bombs were launched from Colombian aircraft that entered Ecuadorian territory. According to the investigations of the military intelligence, these were launched from the south of the camp, which is to say that the aircraft had intruded more than 10 km into Ecuadorian territory when the attack began.

After the bombing from these aircraft, several ‘Supertuscan’ helicopters of the Colombian air force came in and from these the attack on the FARC camp in Ecuadorian territory continued. The helicopters landed special commandos who finished off the injured guerrillas. As the bullet wounds in the bodies of the majority of the guerrillas show, many of them were piled up in a part of the camp and killed from behind. Even the photographs taken by the Colombian government of Raul Reyes’ body show he had a shot on the left side of his face.

Information coming from Ecuadorian military intelligence indicates that the country’s air space was not only violated on the dawn of March 1 but also that on the dawn of March 2 there was another incursion of the helicopters with night vision equipment to pick up members of the armed forces and Colombian police still in Ecuadorian territory. The position of the trees brought down by the bombardment, the multiple bullet holes on them, as also the position of the bodies, demonstrate that while the FARC was guarding the camp on the northern side facing the Colombian frontier, the air incursion happened from the south, which indicates that the Colombian air force intruded without permission or notification, contravening all international norms about Ecuadorian air space.

The testimonies of the area’s residents indicate the attack lasted from approximately after midnight till six in the morning of March 1. The precision of the attack also shows the use of important military technology which puts on the table the possibility of the participation of the United States in the massacres, at least in spotting the guerrilla unit.

The testimonies of the people speak of the possibility that the Colombian helicopters had carried four, and not the two bodies of Raul Reyes and Julian Conrado, as indicated by the authorities of the attacking country. For its part, the Ecuadorian military does not rule out the possibility of some more bodies being found in the lush tropical zone where the killings took place.

The finalisation of the 10-year agreement between Ecuador and the United States for use of the Manta air base, which expires at the end of this year, and which President Rafael Correa is minded not to renew, is also an element in the diplomatic crisis. The Manta air base is a fundamental tool in the structure and strategy of Plan Colombia and though the USA has not made concrete declarations about quitting the base, it is evident that it forms part of its worrying agenda regarding the ‘Citizens’ Revolution’ in Ecuador.

Source: Vamos a Cambiar El Mundo
Related Article: Colombia's Illegal Cross-Border Raid:Gott

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