One soldier was killed and two others wounded Wednesday in a clash with fuel smugglers near the Colombian border, the Ecuadorian Defense Ministry said.

The incident occurred shortly after 6:00 a.m. as the troops were conducting surveillance at the confluence of the Putumayo and San Miguel rivers.

Spotting an Ecuador-bound boat that was carrying barrels of fuel, the soldiers ordered the crew to stop for an inspection.

The crew ignored the order and when the Ecuadorian troops moved to stop the boat, they were confronted by two other vessels whose occupants opened fire on the soldiers, the defense ministry said in a statement.

Cpl. Fabian Chango, Lt. Javier Espinoza and Pvt. Rommel Monar were hit by shotgun pellets.

The wounded men were transported to the military hospital in Quito, where Chango died, the defense ministry said, adding that the other two soldiers "are in stable condition."