Army kills drug traffickers in Amazon, Ecuador military says
QUITO, Ecuador (Reuters) -- Military troops and drug traffickers engaged
shootout that left several traffickers dead after troops discovered a cocaine lab in
Ecuador's Amazon jungle on the border with Colombia, Ecuador's high military
In a two-paragraph statement, the high military command said that at noon
time Thursday troops found a cocaine refinery and then a similar "installation"
nearby that had chemicals, microwaves and electric generators, between the
Bermeja and San Miguel rivers across the border from Colombia.
Several drug traffickers were killed in the confrontation with the military,
and several others
were captured. No one from the high military command or defense ministry was available to
expand on the information.
The outbreak occurred just 10 days after Ecuadorian troops found a factory
miles into Ecuadorian territory where uniforms were being made for Colombia's biggest guerrilla
group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
The incidents have Ecuadorian citizens worried that the 40-year armed conflict
guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and the armed forces in Colombia could permeate the 370 mile
border that divides the two nations.
All of Colombia's neighbors -- Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama, Peru and Brazil
expressed concern that a $7.5 billion U.S.-backed plan to eradicate drug trafficking and those who
profit from it, known as "Plan Colombia," could expand the conflict.
Ecuador is especially worried as Colombia's coca-growing Putumayo region
is directly across
its border, and the U.S. Air Force is conducting anti-narcotics surveillance from a base on the
Copyright 2001 Reuters.