Colombians arrested over plans to kill Ecuadorian President Correa

June 14th, 2008 - 2:02 am ICT by IANS  

Quito/Bogota, June 14 (DPA) Ecuadorian police arrested three Colombians and one Ecuadorian citizen in connection with alleged plans to kill Ecuador’s leftist President Rafael Correa, Ecuadorian Attorney General Washington Pesantez said Friday. Initial reports said the Colombians had links to extreme-right paramilitary groups in their own country. However, Colombian authorities said they are 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 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 noted that “there are no more paramilitary groups in Colombia”, after the United Self-Defence Groups of Colombia (AUC) demobilised over the past years.

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