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Ecuador: almost 200 “anti-terrorist” operations in 54 days of “internal armed conflict”

Almost 200 anti-terrorism operations were carried out by the Police and Armed Forces of Ecuador since on January 9th the president, Daniel Noboadeclared the “internal armed conflict” against organized crime, whose gangs, mainly dedicated to drug trafficking, came to be considered terrorist groups.

The number of detainees in these 54 days of state of emergency reached 11,349 in the latest daily balance published this Saturday by the Government of Ecuador, of which 280 were captured accused of “terrorism”, while the same report indicates that more than 64 tons were seized drugs.

So far, security forces have carried out a total of 139,309 joint operations (more than 2,600 per day), 193 of them against criminal gangs now called terrorist groups by authorities.

In addition, 3,371 firearms, more than 24,200 explosives, more than 228,000 bullets, 1,424 bullet magazines and almost 4,500 knives were seized.

During the state of emergency, police forces killed twelve people they identified as terrorist suspects; Three members of the Police died and no casualties were recorded in the military ranks.

Agents also seized 979 vehicles, 1,255 motorcycles and 28 criminal vessels, including a semi-submersible for transporting drugs; more than 4,800 cell phones and other communications equipment and approximately $294,000 in cash.

Statistics maintain the number of 34 prisoners recaptured, of the almost 90 who escaped from prisons where, at the beginning of the year, there were several prisoner riots with 200 hostages between guards and police who managed to be freed.

After declaring the “internal armed conflict”, the Government of President Daniel Noboa identified at least 22 transnational organized crime groups “as terrorist organizations” and “non-state belligerent actors”.

By identifying these groups as belligerents, the president opened a legal door for the Armed Forces, together with the Police, to act with all their resources to neutralize them.

The spiral of violence in Ecuador was triggered as the Government prepared to apply its “iron fist” policy to regain control of prisons, many of them internally dominated by groups of criminals, whose rivalries have left more than 450 prisoners murdered since 2020 a series of prison massacres.

This violence in prisons also took to the streets until Ecuador became one of the most violent countries, with 45 intentional homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2023.

Source: Elcomercio

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