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Peru Claims Withdrawal From Populated Border Area

Peruvian forces began to pull back troops and tanks Wednesday from populated areas of the border with Ecuador, a day after a shaky cease-fire took hold.

More than half the troops and at least 300 tanks have returned to their bases, said Carlos Calero of the government radio station in Tumbes, 18 miles from the border with Ecuador.

“The tension has dissipated and the population is calm,” Calero said.

A cease-fire went into effect at noon Tuesday. No fighting was reported Wednesday, although both sides reported fighting Tuesday.

Hostilities erupted Jan. 26 over an unmarked 48-mile stretch of border that is said to contain valuable minerals, including gold and oil. At least 49 soldiers have been killed and 100 wounded.

The two countries fought a war in 1941 over the remote section of rain forest in the Cordillera del Condor mountain range.

Peruvian officials said Tuesday they had begun to pull armored units back to their bases. But on Ecuador’s side of the border, troops remained on alert.