Wednesday, Feb 08, 2023

Ecuador city declares state of emergency amid dramatic rise in gang bombings

Ecuador city declares state of emergency amid dramatic rise in gang bombings

Gangs in Guayaquil use increasingly violent tactics in battle for dominance of cocaine trafficking routes to Europe and the US

Ecuador’s embattled president, Guillermo Lasso, has declared a fourth state of emergency in the violence-racked city of Guayaquil after a deadly bomb attack killed at least five and injured 17 people.

Ecuador’s interior minister, Patricio Carrillo, described Sunday’s explosion as a “declaration of war on the state” by organised crime in the country’s largest city and it has been classified as a terrorist act. Security forces will be mobilised for a month and allowed to make home inspections.

Images from the scene showed the front of houses torn off and cars smeared in blood with their windows blown in the working-class Cristo de Consuelo neighbourhood. Eight houses and two cars were destroyed in the early morning blast, according to authorities.

The bomb attack marks a dramatic escalation in the violent tactics used by criminal gangs in Ecuador’s largest city, which has seen an exponential rise in murders as rival gangs battle for dominance of cocaine trafficking routes to Europe and the US.

Wedged between Colombia and Peru, the world’s biggest cocaine producers, Ecuador has has seen a shocking levels of violence, including decapitated bodies hanging from pedestrian bridges and six brutal prison massacres in which nearly 400 inmates have been killed since February 2021.

Since the decree 11 raids have been carried out in the city and five people have been arrested, Carrillo told journalists on Monday.

“What concerns us most … is the capacity [the gang] now have to build elements in a homemade way,” Carrillo tweeted after the blast, referring to the explosives used in the act. “We are investigating how they are reaching these capabilities to commit barbaric acts.”

The incident is the deadliest so far in a dramatic rise in bomb attacks in the country with 145 so far this year, half which occurred in Guayaquil, according to government figures.

“Criminal gangs have become a government within a government in Ecuador,” wrote Guayaquil’s mayor, Cynthia Viteri, in an open letter posted on twitter to Lasso, who took office as president last year.

“We have witnessed hangings on bridges, planned murders on motorcycles, rapes in shopping malls and school buses,” she wrote. “Extortion charged to innocent shopkeepers, and the deaths of more than a dozen child victims from stray bullets.”

“A president is the protector of his people but so far we have not seen a single safe step to combat crime,” the letter continues. “Who is in charge here, organized crime or an enslaved government?”

On Twitter, Lasso responded that the enemy was “narco-terrorism … not the government”, adding that “in countries that have lived through these painful experiences, the authorities act in unity and not divided”. However, he has faced mounting criticism as the rising violence shows no sign of abating.

Guayaquil was one of the 50 most violent cities in the the world in 2021, according to Insight Crime, a thinktank. It is the first time an Ecuadorian city has appeared on the list.


Related Articles

2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
U.S. added 517,000 jobs in January, snapping five-month string of slowing employment growth
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Tennessee Bill Would Imprison People for 3 Years If They 'Lie' About Rape to Get an Abortion.
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he will block Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges