Search

 

Cablegate: Ecuadorian Army's 4th Division Operations Against

VZCZCXYZ0026
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #2570/01 3332026
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 292026Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8112
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 7148
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 2184
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV BRASILIA 3820
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 2778
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA 0837
INFO RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 3079
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

S E C R E T QUITO 002570

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/06/2014
TAGS: MOPS MCAP MASS PTER SNAR PREL EC CO
SUBJECT: ECUADORIAN ARMY'S 4TH DIVISION OPERATIONS AGAINST
THE FARC

Classified By: DCM Jefferson Brown for Reasons 1.4 (b&d)

1. (C) Summary. The Ecuadorian Army's Fourth Division has
engaged the FARC along the border with Colombian since
November 19, 2007. This series of operations demonstrates
previously uncharacteristic resolve and coordination by the
Ecuadorian military to press the attack and to continue
surveilling and patrolling its border to engage additional
FARC camps. Recent training within the Ecuadorian military
and new political and military leadership have provided an
apparent new resolve by the GOE to control its Northern
Border and to remove incursions of armed insurgents within
its territory. End Summary.

2. (S) On November 19, 2007, the 4th Division of the
Ecuadorian Army began a still ongoing operation of a series
of military confrontations against the FARC in Puerto El
Carmen de Putumayo, between Santa Rosa and Quinche, along the
San Miguel river, in the Northeastern province of Sucumbios,
along the Colombian border. The operation began after an
exchange of fire between Ecuadorian military and FARC
guerrillas at a known FARC camp. However, unlike the
standard operating procedures of a brief exchange of fire and
then retreat by the FARC, this initial exchange continued
longer than normal; the FARC held its ground and the
Ecuadorian military continued pressing the camp. Hours
later, after the FARC had evacuated the site, blood and
munitions were found at the FARC camp, along with documents
and books which confirm that Luis Edgar Devia Silva (aka Raul
Reyes), Secretariat Member, Spokesman and Advisor to the
Southern Bloc of the FARC, was present at the camp. His
presence and likely extraction from the site is a probable
explanation for why the FARC did not immediately retreat.
One FARC fatality was recovered by the Ecuadorian military
and buried on site to avoid publicity as she was a young
uniformed woman. Other FARC fatalities are likely but have
not been confirmed.

3. (C) Since the beginning of these operations, the Fourth
Division has encountered three guerilla bases, including
munitions, grenades and camouflage, and FARC identification
tags in the same region of the San Miguel River. The
operation continues in its patrol and engagement of known
FARC camps on various fronts and has sent in additional
troops to relieve those initially involved in the operation.
Troops from the 54th Special Operations Battalion
Shushufindi, the 55th Jungle Battalion, the 24th Special
Forces Group, other members of the 19th Jungle Brigade, and
commandos from the Iwias Unit in Shell, Pastaza Province,
have been deployed to control this zone along the Northern
Border with Colombia. The Ecuadorian military has suffered
injuries, still no fatalities, but the situation remains
tense.

4. (S) General Fabian Narvaez, Commander of the Fourth
Division, privately told the Embassy Military Group that the
purpose of this mission was to "survey the area, locate and
eliminate incursions of FARC guerrillas within Ecuadorian
territory." To do so, the Fourth Division has employed five
Super Puma and two Gazelle helicopters, coordinating with the
Ecuadorian Air Force. One Super Puma and two Gazelles are
now permanently based in Coca, Sucumbios. General Narvaez
said that the Fourth Division is planning a more extensive
operation in January 2008 after additional troops complete
jungle operations training.

5. (S) General Narvaez said that his division had completely
exhausted its supply of aviation fuel, has borrowed from the
Ecuadorian Air Force, and pleaded for assistance from the USG
to purchase additional fuel as well as for riverine
operations. Embassy's Military Group has responded by
providing 7,000 gallons of aviation fuel to the Fourth
Division, and is looking to provide more. The Military Group
has also ordered through NAS funding 22 still pending
outboard motors to provide needed assistance in these
Northern Border operations. General Narvaez also expressed
concern about confrontation with FARC camps in Ecuador that
might be holding the three U.S. hostages. In response,
Embassy Quito Military Group will provide training and
assistance in personnel recovery.

6. (S) The operational capability for the Ecuadorian Army to
patrol its Northern Border has improved somewhat after
General Narvaez took leadership of the Fourth Division in
July 2007. During a recent visit to LagoAgrio, Sucumbios,
by WHA DAS Christopher McMullen and Ambassador Linda Jewell,
General Narvaez commented that the Fourth Division was not
fully trained and equipped to conduct needed operations along
the Northern Border, and that his troops have undergone a
three-month program of training. Since the training, Narvaez
sent all six of the Fourth Division's Long Range
Reconnaissance and Surveillance (LRRS) teams have been sent
to various fronts along the Northern border to observe known
FARC camps and take photos and videos.

7. (C) Political will may have also increased after
Ecuadorian Minister of Defense Wellington Sandoval's
fact-finding trip to the Northern Border on November 6. MOD
Sandoval went to determine the validity of reported
incursions by Colombian military into Ecuadorian territory on
November 3. The MOD was surprised to find a heavier than
expected FARC presence and an unwillingness of the local
population to reveal this presence. On November 13, Sandoval
said that "Ecuador maintains a border with the FARC or the
ELN, and Bogota does not maintain effective control of its
border region with Ecuador." On November 26, Minister
Sandoval stated, "We will not permit armed persons within our
territory. This is a sovereign country that we must defend
and respect; we cannot have (foreign) armed troops here, and
if we do, we must remove them."

8. (C) Comment. New military leadership appears to have
presented the GOE with a renewed commitment to patrol and
control the Northern Border with Colombia. President
Correa's fervor with regard to sovereignty adds an additional
impetus to this commitment. The current operation has
received significant press coverage. Long-term political
will may be challenged if the Ecuadorian military incurs
fatalities. An increase in Ecuadorian military engagement
along the border with Colombia could also spark an increase
in activity by the FARC in the region. End Comment.
JEWELL

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Washington Riot And The Georgia Results

Hong Kong and Washington DC. On the same morning, the tyrants in power in Beijing and their counterpart in the White House have shown how they refuse to accept the legitimacy of any different points of view, and the prospect of losing power… More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

Unsplash/ElevenPhotographs The US Capitol building in Washington D.C. A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>