Ecuador Shoots Down Peru Fighters

Three Peruvian warplanes were downed while attacking Ecuadorean bases in the nations’ border war, President Alberto Fujimori confirmed Saturday.

Ecuador said Friday it shot down two aircraft and hit another. Fujimori told reporters that two Russian-made Sukhoi fighter-bombers and one U.S.-made A-37 jet were shot down Friday.

He said the pilots of the A-37 and one Sukhoi ejected safely but the other Sukhoi’s pilot was missing. The Peruvian air force on Saturday said two airmen were missing, without specifying from which aircraft.

Peruvian warplanes have been used to attack the strategic Ecuadorean outpost of Tiwintza, Fujimori has said.

He denied that Peru, whose military is twice the size of Ecuador’s, planned to invade its smaller neighbor, but said the conflict “has escalated much more than was foreseeable.”

Fighting erupted Jan. 26, when Peru charged that an Ecuadorean helicopter attacked a Peruvian position. It has killed 36 Peruvian soldiers and at least 11 Ecuadoreans.

Each side has accused the other of being the aggressor in the fighting over an unmarked 48-mile stretch of border in the Cordillera del Condor mountains on the eastern edge of the Andes. The area is 600 miles north of Lima.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Jimmy Carter said the former president and former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, were available for mediation.

Tags: war

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