Kidnapped Ecuador journalists confirmed dead

AFP-JijiQUITO (AFP-Jiji) — Ecuador on Friday confirmed the deaths of two journalists and their driver who had been kidnapped by renegade Colombian rebels — and quickly launched a retaliatory military operation in the area where they were snatched.

Bogota also sent troops into the dense jungle border zone where the remnants of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group operate — a key point on the trade route for drugs destined for Central America or the United States.

The killings — after what is thought to be the first such abduction of journalists on Ecuadoran soil in three decades — have shaken a country unaccustomed to the cruel violence linked to trafficking that has ravaged Colombia.

The three men, who worked for the influential El Comercio newspaper, were kidnapped on March 26 while covering a story on violence along the border, where Ecuadoran forces have been battling Colombian rebels engaged in drug trafficking.Speech

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