Ecuadorian government makes efforts to secure release of kidnapped couple

Minister Navas said Ecuador asked Colombia to strengthen military presence in border area.

The Interior minister highlighted that since April 17, captors have completely suspended communication.

Quito, April 23 (Andes). – Ecuador’s Interior minister Cesar Navas said Monday that the government makes efforts for the release of a couple kidnapped more than a week ago in the northern border of the country.

During an interview with Teleamazonas network, the official said the government is working with the Anti-Kidnap and Extortion Unit (UNASE), Colombian security officials and experts from Ecuador’s National Police making “all efforts to contact and have information to find both kidnapped citizens.”

However, he said that in spite of the efforts to contact the captors “they are not willing to negotiate.”

The Interior minister highlighted that since April 17, captors have completely suspended communication and reiterated that the couple “is in Colombia.”

Monday marks one week since the announcement of the kidnapping of Vanesa Velasco and Oscar Efren Villacis, Ecuadorian citizens allegedly kidnapped by armed groups led by former FARC rebel known by the alias ‘Guacho’.

Family members of these citizens were expected to meet with officials from the Interior Ministry and UNASE.

La familia de los cautivos tenía previsto llegar este día a Quito para reunirse con autoridades del Ministerio del Interior y la Unase.

Last Wednesday, Ecuador’s General Commander of the Police, Ramiro Mantilla, says it is believed Velasco and Villacis traveled to a town in Colombia, border with Ecuador, where they were kidnapped.

Concerning the recovery of bodies of the press team, the minister informed that they continue to work with international organizations “experts on this type of processes” and we depend on “the other party” to meet this goal.

He affirmed that since September 2017, 43 people allegedly involved in criminal rings were arrested in the border area where a security program is being executed.

Minister Navas said they ask Colombia to share responsibility and “strengthen police and military presence in the border area just as Ecuador does with the National Police and Armed Forces.”

Last week, President Lenin Moreno said they are open to dialogue with ‘Guacho’ who is allegedly responsible for terror attacks in the border and added that his conditions will not be accepted.



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