Colombia confirms identity of murdered Ecuadoran couple | Inquirer News

Colombia confirms identity of murdered Ecuadoran couple

/ 08:20 AM July 05, 2018

The director of Colombia’s National Institute of Legal Medicine Carlos Valdes speaks to the press in Pasto, Colombia, on July 4, 2018, to confirm that two bodies were identified as of an Ecuadoran couple kidnapped in April by a dissident FARC rebel group. Ecuadorean Oscar Villacis, 24, and Katty Velasco, 20, went missing on April 17 amid a spate of abductions and killings in the border of the two nations. Their kidnapping was claimed in a video sent by the same rebel group that took responsibility for the murders of two Ecuadoran journalists and their driver in March. / AFP PHOTO / Leonardo Castro

Pasto, Colombia – Two bodies found in the thick jungle of southwestern Colombia are those of an Ecuadorian couple kidnapped by a dissident FARC rebel group, officials confirmed Wednesday.

Ecuador’s Communication Ministry had said Tuesday that the bodies “could” be those of Oscar Villacis, 24, and Katty Velasco, 20, who went missing on April 17.


Colombian forensic authorities have now confirmed their identity.


Their kidnapping had been claimed by the Oliver Sinisterra Front, a rebel group led by ex-FARC guerrilla Walther Arizala, who goes by the alias Gaucho.

Arizala’s group also claimed the kidnapping and murder of two Ecuadoran journalists and their driver, who went missing in March before their bodies were found by Colombian soldiers two weeks ago in the same jungle border area between the two countries.

The director of Colombia’s Legal Medicine Institute, Carlos Valdes, said the couple had been dead for “approximately two months.”

Their disappearance and murder, and that of the press team, has strained relations between Colombia and Ecuador.

After the first abductions, the two countries had launched a joint military operation against Arizala.

The thick jungle border area has been wracked by drug-related violence ever since the dissolution of FARC, which fought a 30-year guerrilla war against the Colombian government.


Four Ecuadoran soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in March.

The FARC transformed itself into a political party following a landmark peace agreement signed in 2016.

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But it said some 40 former rebels have since been killed in military operations and by right-wing groups.                        /kga

TAGS: Colombia, Ecuador, FARC, Gaucho, guerilla, Kidnapping, Rebel

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