By Yolima Dussán/Diálogo May 02, 2018 In a special session held on March 24, 2018, in Tulcán, home base of the Ecuadorean Army’s 31st Andes Brigade, authorities from Colombia and Ecuador agreed to intensify military coordination along their shared border. The agreement includes closer cooperation on intelligence operations to thwart attacks from illegal armed groups in the area. Aníbal Fernández, Colombia’s Vice Minister of Defense for International Policies and Affairs; Felipe Vega, Ecuador’s Vice Minister of Defense, and top military members from both nations resolved to implement new mechanisms to exchange information. Authorities also opted to heighten the combined presence of military units at critical points along the border. “Through this exercise, we reaffirm the excellent relationship between Colombia and Ecuador on security and defense matters, building on cooperation, instruments, and mechanisms we’ve strengthened over the years,” said Vice Minister Fernández at the end of the session. “Our analysis of the situation along the border allowed us to decide to establish more combined operations and exercises, resulting in greater security for the region.” Terrorism in the borderlands The Binational Border Commission (COMBIFRON, in Spanish) convened following a terrorist attack on March 20th, in the Ecuadorean province of Esmeralda, just across the border from the Colombian department of Nariño. Narcotraffickers and dissidents from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) carried out the attack that left four service members dead and seven wounded. A patrol of marines implementing surveillance and control operations was attacked with an explosive device near a naval detachment in the Mataje River area of the San Lorenzo district, along the northern border with Colombia. “The Ecuadorean service members responded to the attack, which led to a confrontation,” reported the office of Ecuador’s Secretary of Communication. Terrorist attacks have been on the rise in this area since the start of 2018. On January 27th, a car bomb exploded in San Lorenzo, wounding 28 people. Since then, there have been six other incidents of armed aggression against Ecuadorean security forces and civilians. “We established a series of agreements to deploy more security troops to the border area,” said Vice Minister Vega. “Today’s work will result in coordinated actions from the armed forces to redouble security in the areas most impacted by conflict.” Specific exercises Authorities prioritized COMBIFRON’s decisions in line with the analysis of the region’s security situation. Police forces from both countries agreed to send Ecuadorean officers to Tumaco to be briefed on Colombia’s operations. An Ecuadorean intelligence officer will also be part of the combined information center’s staff to be set up in Ipiales, in the Colombian department of Nariño, for ongoing communication exchanges on matters like illegal mining, human trafficking, fuel smuggling, and money laundering. In a combined press conference, Army General Alberto José Mejía, general commander of the Colombian Military Forces, and Air Force General César Merizalde, head of the Ecuadorean Armed Forces Joint Command, committed to implement new mechanisms to exchange information and ramp up military presence in Nariño, Esmeraldas, and Carchi. They also laid the groundwork for collaboration between the two armed forces on combined civic operations to work with the communities and create a secure environment with government presence. “The recent violent events along the northern border generated unease among our fellow citizens,” said Gen. Merizalde. “Especially for those living in provinces that border Colombia.” The Colombian Military Forces increased operations in the area with the Hercules Task Force, a unit consisting of 9,000 personnel from the Army, Navy, and Police to bolster security and law and order in border municipalities. The mission is to protect 16,000 square kilometers in the border area, 116 km of oil pipelines, 640 power line pylons, and the Espriella-Río Mataje road project, which connects the ports of Tumaco and Esmeraldas. “This became a high-risk area because of the presence of armed criminal and narcotrafficking groups from Colombia that use Ecuadorean territory to carry out part of their illegal activities,” said Gen. Mejía. “We are aware of our nation’s problems, like illegal crops and narcotrafficking. It’s the inherent responsibility of our country and the Military Forces, and that’s why we deployed a force like Hercules”. Criminal groups in the border between Colombia and Ecuador strive to control coca growing lands and drug trafficking routes. A particular nemesis to locals is a FARC splinter group under Guacho’s command, a former guerrilla fighter whose criminal activities pose a threat to the security of both countries.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Phil D’Abbraccio (18-5): Syracuse 64, Boston College 56Before CrisisDon’t expect Syracuse to play as well as it did Saturday – we’ve seen how SU does against “inferior” Atlantic Coast Conference teams – but cherish the winnable game while you can, because it’s going to be a grind from here on out. Five games against ranked teams lie ahead and, if you haven’t heard, there may be some news on the way in the middle of them. But Boston College will be a nice respite before the storm really hits. Jesse Dougherty (18-5): Syracuse 71, Boston College 58This one’s a givenIt’s hard to say that any game is Syracuse’s to lose, but it’s also rare to find an ACC team as bad as Boston College. The last time these teams met, the Eagles lived and died by the 3 and kept it close while the Orange wilted at the line. It’s not far-fetched to think that a similar game will unfold in Chestnut Hill on Wednesday, but it’s probably safer to guess that the Orange will have the game in hand well before it’s shooting free throws in this one. Jacob Klinger (19-4): Syracuse 65, Boston College 50B-CBIBoston College is dependent on being able to penetrate the zone and/or establish an inside game. The latter seems especially unlikely with the Eagles’ crew of big men unable to match up with Rakeem Christmas. And it’s only slightly less difficult to see BC splitting the top of the defense. Even if Kaleb Joseph struggles defensively, Ron Patterson is a reliable-enough stopper off the bench. Don’t expect Syracuse to light up the scoreboard, but don’t expect the Orange to have to. Comments Published on February 11, 2015 at 5:00 pm