QUITO — A group of 46 policemen have been arrested in Ecuador on suspicion of involvement in last week's uprising, as President Rafael Correa warned of an ongoing conspiracy from within their ranks and said the threat remains for another revolt.
The policemen were detained late Tuesday, officials said, and were awaiting formal charges related to the insurrection in which 10 people were killed and 274 were injured.
Correa said Wednesday the state must seek punishment against the policemen "with all the firmness of the law," and told foreign reporters there would be "no forgiving or forgetting" of their actions. He added the group amounted to only a "few" officers in the force.
He also warned, however, that "the coup is not over" and said "it will be very difficult in the future to guarantee the situation, maybe not on the same scale, won't happen again."
Earlier Correa spoke with US President Barack Obama, who reiterated US support for Ecuador's government.
Obama "underscored the importance of resolving any tensions in Ecuador in the context of the country's democratic and constitutional order," the White House said in a statement.
Although Correa has praised Obama's administration for its support during the crisis, including from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he said Wednesday he could not exclude intervention from "right-wing groups" in the United States having a hand in the uprising.
Hundreds of police officers on Thursday rose up in a revolt over a law that reduced their bonus pay and cornered Correa in a police hospital for 12 hours, after his attempt to personally confronted rebellious officers in Quito backfired.
Correa, a leftist and economist by training who denounced the uprising as a coup attempt, was rescued by loyal soldiers and police.
Top police officials were arrested or forced to resign, but the mass of the force remains in place.
The president earlier this week raised salaries of higher ranking military and police. Defense Minister Javier Ponce said the raises were unrelated to last week's turmoil, and had been due since 2008.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »