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Cablegate: Colombian Shots Leave Ecuadorians Wounded

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DE RUEHQT #2152 2401955
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 281955Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5127
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA IMMEDIATE 5920
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA IMMEDIATE 0910
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ AUG 0048
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA IMMEDIATE 3648
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS IMMEDIATE 1972
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA IMMEDIATE 0633
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL IMMEDIATE 1042
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS QUITO 002152

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR MASS MOPS SNAR PTER EC CO
SUBJECT: COLOMBIAN SHOTS LEAVE ECUADORIANS WOUNDED

1. (SBU) Colombian military units and FARC rebels exchanged
heavy gunfire late in the evening on August 23 in the
southern Colombian border town of Tetye, Putumayo.
Ecuadorian 19th Jungle Brigade Commander (based in Lago
Agrio, Sucumbios province) Colonel Ramiro Caceres confirmed
the live fire incident to an Embassy official, reporting that
a mortar round exploded in the Ecuadorian town of Puerto
Nuevo, Sucumbios at 5 a.m. on August 24. The device
detonated in the Puerto Nuevo bus station, injuring three
Ecuadorians, one severely, COL Caceres said.

2. (U) Minister of Defense Oswaldo Jarrin traveled to the
Puerto Nuevo on August 24 to survey damage first hand. In an
August 25 interview, Jarrin confirmed the incident calling it
unfortunate. He said that the Colombian military must
exercise greater caution when operating along the joint
border, something the two governments had agreed upon in
bilateral meetings. Responding to the reporter's suggestion
that diplomatic efforts were futile, Jarrin recalled that six
months had passed without a significant incident, proving
that increased bilateral communication has worked. He said
that the Foreign Ministry would formally protest the incident
and seek compensation for victims through the Colombian
Embassy in Quito.

3. (SBU) Comment: The GOE seems willing to downplay the
incident, absent public or political uproar. A forthcoming
and contrite response from the GOC would help keep the
reaction here at manageable levels.
JEWELL

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