Country in chaos, the president: “Convinced that we will emerge victorious from this conflict”. Colombia deploys army units to the border
I am 139 people are still held hostage inside five prisons in Ecuador, including 125 prison guards and 14 administrative employees, after armed unrest broke out in the country. This was reported by the Penitentiary Service (Snai) of Quito, referring to the prisons of Azuay, Canar, Napo, Tungurahua and Cotopaxi. At the moment, the Snai has not confirmed the veracity of the videos circulating on social media showing summary executions of hostages in prison.
L’Ecuador’s army and police have meanwhile arrested 329 members of criminal gangs and killed five others , reported Jaime Vela Eraso, head of the joint command of the armed forces. “We confiscated 61 weapons of different calibers, 418 ammunition, 24 explosive devices and arrested 329 terrorists. Forty-one people were released from captivity. We have eliminated five terrorists,” he said at the conference broadcast on Ecuavisa television. The military official underlined that after clashes with three armed criminal gangs, the security forces returned 28 escaped prisoners to prison. Vela Eraso added that in the prisons where clashes occurred and no hostages were killed.
An Ecuadorian judge also ordered precautionary custody for terrorism crimes for eleven of the 13 suspects arrested for the raid on the headquarters of the TC Television broadcaster, which was attacked by an armed group. The other two detainees, minors, were sent to a juvenile center, again on charges of terrorism. The thirteen arrested are between 16 and 26 years of age, according to what was announced by the general of the national police Cesar Zapata, quoted by ‘Metroecuador’. For the crime of terrorism there are penalties of up to 26 years in prison, up to 8 for minors.
What is going on
On January 9, Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa signed a decree recognizing the country’s “internal armed conflict” and ordering the neutralization of 22 criminal gangs. The announcement followed the hostage-taking of TC Television employees broadcasting live from a studio in Guayaquil.
The security situation in Ecuador worsened on January 7 after the leader of the Los Choneros criminal gang, nicknamed Fito, escaped from prison. The escape was followed by riots in several prisons. On January 8, Noboa declared a state of emergency in the country and imposed a curfew.
President Noboa: “The country is united, we will win the conflict”
The unanimous support of the Quito Parliament for the emergency law implemented by the government to combat the ongoing violence in Ecuador demonstrates that ”the country is united”. And this is why ”we will emerge victorious from this conflict”, argued the President of Ecuador Daniel Noboa in a one-minute video message released after Parliament unanimously supported Executive Decree 111 which recognizes an internal armed conflict in the country and provides for the intervention of the Armed Forces to neutralize 22 terrorist groups.
”We are convinced that we will emerge victorious from this conflict. The support of citizens and political parties is essential to emerge from the darkness and have better days for all. Give in to evil, never; fight tirelessly, always. Long live Ecuador,” the president said in a short message broadcast on social networks.
Colombia deploys army units to border
For its part, Colombia has deployed 180 soldiers on the border with Ecuador as a preventive security measure in light of the situation in the neighboring country. “The military will assist security operations, ready to react to any situation,” announced the Colombian army on its X account. The previous day, Peruvian authorities declared a state of emergency for 60 days in the border area with Ecuador and Colombia, strengthening the presence of police forces following the events in Ecuador.