Quito (Ecuador) (AFP) – Two journalists and their driver kidnapped on March 26 in Ecuador by dissident FARC rebels were killed on the Colombian side of the border, Interior Minister Cesar Navas said Sunday.
Navas told news channel NTN24 in an interview that the bodies are still there.
“They were in Colombian territory and they are in Colombian territory,” he said.
The three men — who worked for the influential El Comercio newspaper — were kidnapped by remnants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) while covering a story on violence along the border, where Ecuadoran forces have been battling Colombian rebels engaged in drug trafficking.
“They were murdered in Colombian territory,” the minister said.
President Lenin Moreno confirmed on Friday that the men had been killed and announced he was sending troops to the border area to hunt for the kidnappers.
Navas said a joint military operation was being coordinated with with Colombian forces and was open-ended.
He said 550 police and soldiers had been sent to the area of Mataje on the Ecuadoran side of the border where the men were reported to have been kidnapped.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was trying to recover the bodies after the murders shocked a country unaccustomed to the drugs-linked violence that has ravaged Colombia.