10 nov. 2008

Ecuador Prioritizes National Security

Quito, Nov 8 (Prensa Latina) The Ecuadorian government is implementing a strategic plan that includes new equipment and weapons to guarantee national security, due to Colombia's evident carelessness to protect its southern border.

Government Minister Fernando Bustamante confirmed that protection of the Colombian border would be prioritized, due to the presence of transnational organized crime.

We have instructions to protect the bordering zone (with Colombia), due to the presence of transnational organized crime, illegal armed groups and gangs of kidnappers, Bustamante noted.

He pointed out that the issue was discussed at an itinerant cabinet meeting held on Friday in Cevallos, in the Andean province of Tungurahua, and that President Rafael Correa is concerned about the situation.

The president is worried about thefts, aggressions and kidnappings of Ecuadorians by Colombian groups, and about the latest incursion of paramilitaries from the neighboring country, which resulted in one dead and two wounded in a town of Esmeraldas province, he said.

Bustamante added that Ecuador will soon have Israeli-made unmanned aircraft and Brazilian-made Super Tucanos reconnaissance planes and fighters to guarantee the surveillance of the northern border.

A fleet of Indian-made helicopters will be acquired in 2009 to back up operations in northern Ecuador, he noted. Bustamante announced the opening of police checkpoints on border towns, as well as the implementation of a Police-Armed Forces joined plan to reinforce border patrols.