Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001 - Ecuador

The kidnapping on 12 October 2000 of a group of eight oil workers (including five US citizens) by an armed band played out well into 2001. On 31 January, the hostage takers executed US hostage Ron Sander. The remaining seven hostages, including the four surviving US citizens, were released in March, following payment of a multimillion-dollar ransom. In June, Colombian police arrested more than 50 Colombian and Ecuadorian criminal and ex-guerrilla suspects, including the group's leaders, connected to the case. At year's end, five of the suspects were awaiting extradition to the United States.

Beyond the murder of Ron Sander, there were no significant acts of terrorism in Ecuador in 2001, although unidentified individuals or groups perpetrated some low-level bombings. Two McDonald's restaurants were firebombed in April. Over a four-day period in mid-November, four pamphlet bombs containing anti-US propaganda were detonated in downtown Quito.

As did most Latin American nations in the wake of the September 11 attacks in the United States, Ecuador voiced its strong support for US, OAS, and UN antiterrorism declarations and initiatives put forth in various international fora, including UNSC 1373, as well as for Coalition actions in Afghanistan. Ecuador, however, neither improved control over its porous borders nor cracked down on illegal emigration/immigration. Quito's weak financial controls and widespread document fraud remained issues of concern, as did Ecuador's reputation as a strategic corridor for arms, ammunition, and explosives destined for Colombian terrorist groups.

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