Last Updated: Monday, 3 March 2008, 04:12 GMT Ecuador leader ‘linked to rebels’ [Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa] Rafael Correa ordered troops to the northern border Colombia has said documents found in a cross-border raid suggest links between left-wing Farc rebels and Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa.
Colombian troops had entered Ecuador in a raid that killed a Farc leader, Raul Reyes, and 16 other rebels. Ecuador has expelled Colombia’s ambassador following the attack and is sending troops to the border.
Police commander Gen Oscar Naranjo said one document showed Reyes had met Ecuador’s minister of internal security and that they discussed Mr Correa’s “interest in making official relations with the Farc”. Earlier, Colombian Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo went on television to express regret that it had to enter Ecuador. But he said that the raid about 1.8km (one mile) inside Ecuador was “indispensable”.
Farc ‘invincibility’ shattered Analysis: War talk After Mr Araujo’s statement, Mr Correa said: “I have decided on the immediate expulsion of Colombia’s ambassador in Ecuador (CarlosHolguin).”
Colombia’s government has received billions of dollars in aid from Washington to fight the guerrillas – as the US, along with the EU, views Farc as a terrorist organisation.
Colombian troops have recently retaken control of areas previously held by rebel groups, but Farc retains a strong hold over Colombia’s more remote regions.