Venezuela, Ecuador Send Troops To Columbian Border

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela and Ecuador have ordered troops to their borders with Colombia on Monday, raising concerns of a broader conflict after Colombia killed a top rebel leader on Ecuadorean soil.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warns that Venezuela will respond with military force if Colombia violates its border. He also has ordered Venezuela’s embassy in Bogota to be closed.

Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, has also withdrawn his government’s ambassador from Bogota and expelled Colombia’s top diplomat.

Colombian officials have long complained that Ecuador’s military does not control its sparsely populated border, allowing rebels to take refuge in their.

The same holds true for Venezuela, where rebel deserters say the guerrillas routinely rest, train, obtain medical care and smuggle drugs. Chavez denies that his country provides refuge to the rebels.