Ecuador Gang Violence: Crackdown In Two States After Police Killings
A state of emergency and curfews have been declared in two Ecuador provinces after a series of some attacks that killed five police officers. President Guillermo Lasso said the attacks by increasingly powerful drug gangs were a declaration of war. They had threatened to retaliate after the government introduced tougher
measures to curb their power inside prisons. More than 400 people have died in gang violence in prisons since 2020. Officials said nine separate attacks were also launched in the coastal provinces of Guayas and Esmeraldas on the Tuesday, apparently in response to transfers of prisoners from overcrowded and violent jails.
Six explosions were reported in the western city of Guayaquil, police said, while two police officers were killed in an attack on a patrol car in the suburbs. Three others were shot dead in the city and nearby later in the day, they added. Three blasts were reported in Esmeraldas province, where seven prison officers were
taken hostage by inmates. They were later released after negotiations, officials said. The attacks came in response to prisoner transfers President Lasso introduced the emergency measures in the two states for 45 days, restricting freedom of assembly and movement. Similar measures were taken in several
provinces last year and in April this year. Violence in Ecuador has grown sharply in recent years, including decapitations and prison riots, similar to scenes previously associated with Mexico. It is thought this is because Mexican cartels have been recruiting local gangs to smuggle cocaine.