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Ecuador’s Army Chief Designates Criminal Groups Operating in Country as ‘Military Target’

Ecuadorean police members take position outside the premises of Ecuador’s TC television channel after unidentified gunmen burst into the state-owned television studio live on air on January 9, 2024, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, a day after Ecuadorean President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency following the escape from prison of a dangerous narco boss. Gunshots rang out on live TV in violence-torn Ecuador as armed men carrying rifles and grenades stormed the studio shortly after gangsters vowed a “war” against the president’s plans to reclaim control from “narcoterrorists”.

MEXICO CITY, (Sputnik) – The unrest came as authorities raided prisons in search of weapons and in an effort to disperse gang members to different facilities. During Sunday’s search of the Guayaquil prison, law enforcement officials failed to find the leader of the Los Choneros gang, Jose Adolfo Macias Villamar.Ecuadorian Armed Forces Joint Command chief RADM Jaime Vela Eraso on Tuesday, following a security council meeting, declared 22 criminal groups operating in the country as a “military target” and said there would be no negotiations with them.”Daniel Noboa, the president of the republic, has set a very clear mission for us in his decree No. 111. From now on, every terrorist group identified in the above-mentioned decree becomes a military target. The present and future of our country are at stake, and no act of terrorism will make us surrender. We are not going to retreat or negotiate,” the army chief said in a video address posted by the Ecuadorian presidency on X. The country’s police said on X that at least ten people, including two police officers, have been killed in unrest in the Ecuadorian city of Guayaquil and the neighboring town of Nobol. A police spokesperson said earlier on Tuesday during a news conference by the mayor of Guayaquil that at least eight people have been killed and another two have been injured, with a police officer having suffered a gunshot wound during the unrest in the city. He added that two vehicles and two motorbikes have been set on fire, and 14 people have been detained for various crimes. Following the declaration of a state of internal armed conflict in the republic by Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa, Ecuador’s National Assembly, the country’s parliament, backed executive action to combat crime groups and vowed pardons and amnesties for police and army personnel if it would be necessary to ensure security. “We express our support for the armed forces, the national police and all officials responsible for upholding the constitution and the law. We recognize and appreciate your dedication and efforts to maintain security, peace and the lives of citizens. This support includes pardons and/or amnesties where necessary to enable these structures to function,” the parliament said in a statement on X. The country’s prosecutor’s office said in a statement on X that 13 detained men, who had broken into the TV station of Ecuadorian broadcaster TC in Guayaquil and crashed its live broadcast while wearing masks and carrying weapons and had been apprehended by police special forces, would be charged with terrorism. The office said no one was injured in the incident, adding that a hearing against the detained people will take place in the next few hours. AmericasLeader of Ecuador’s Second-Largest Gang, Los Lobos, Escapes From Prison00:43 GMTEarlier on Tuesday, Noboa said that the country was in a state of internal armed conflict amid the hostage-taking riots in various cities and prisons and designated several organized crime groups as “terrorist organizations.” Noboa ordered the army to “neutralize” criminal groups operating in the country. Following the president’s declaration, Peruvian Interior Minister Victor Torres Falcon ordered that the country’s police special forces be immediately deployed to the border with neighboring Ecuador to reinforce security. Peruvian Prime Minister Alberto Otarola later said that Lima would introduce a state of emergency at the border with Ecuador amid the unrest in the neighboring country. AmericasPeru Deploys Police Special Forces to Border With Ecuador Amid Internal ConflictYesterday, 23:51 GMTOn Monday, Noboa declared a 60-day state of emergency in Ecuador following prison riots and the escape of a major gang leader. Ecuador’s National Service for Comprehensive Assistance to Adult Persons Deprived of Liberty and Teenage Offenders of Ecuador said on Tuesday that Fabricio Colon Pico, the leader of Ecuador’s second-largest criminal gang, Los Lobos, has also escaped from prison as a result of riots.

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