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Guillermo Lasso who is the President of Ecuador has ultimately declared a full state of emergency in two of their provinces on Tuesday, after at least five police officers had been gunned down and killed and some of the prison guards had been taken hostage in the latest wave of attacks which had occured in the deadly gang war consuming the country.
The state of emergency and the nightly curfew which had been slammed on the coastal provinces of Guayas and Esmeraldas will also be in place for 45 days and it also allows the government to limit some of their freedom of assembly and movement.
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Officials had also revealed that some of the organised crime groups launched at least 13 attacks with explosives and firearms against police and oil installations in response to a transfer of inmates from Guayas 1 prison. The prison authority also reported that “shots were fired inside” the facility.
And located in the southwestern port city of Guayaquil in Guayas province, the prison was one of the main scenes of a series of prison massacres that have left about 400 inmates dead since February 2021.
Interior Minister Juan Zapata told reporters in the Ecuadoran capital of Quito on Tuesday that there were “reactions (of) organized crime” in Guayaquil and in the northwestern oil port of Esmeraldas.
These incidents had also included car bomb attacks and an explosion at a bus terminal and in the early morning hours, two police officers died when people with firearms attacked their patrol car in Guayaquil, authorities said.
Three more officers were gunned down later in the day in the port and the nearby city of Duran and a separate attack on a police station there left two officers injured.
In Esmeraldas — the same city where two headless bodies were found hanging from a pedestrian bridge on Monday — inmates took eight guards hostage, according to the SNAI prison authority. All were later freed, the prison authority said, without giving details about the guards’ condition.