A number of at least four car bombs and prison riotswhere police officers and guards who are being held by the prisoners are located, turned on the light again this Thursday Alert about the violent situation in Ecuador, days after the bloody first round of presidential elections ended with the assassination of candidate Fernando Villavicencio.
Within a few hours, between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, four vehicles were searched with explosive devices, which eventually burned without leaving any casualties. two of them in Quito and two more in Machala and Pasaje, two cities in the southern province of El Oro, on the border with Peru.
Both the car explosions and the riots came hours after a massive deployment of 2,200 police and military personnel at Latacunga prison. is located in the province of Cotopaxi, about 70 kilometers south of Quito, and is allegedly controlled by the criminal gang known as Los Lobos.
According to the authorities, that would explain it The Quito vehicles targeted buildings associated with the National Comprehensive Care Service for Persons Deprived of Liberty (SNAI).the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is responsible for the control and administration of Ecuador’s 35 prisons.
In this operation in Latacunga prison 49 bladed weapons and two bulletproof vests were confiscated, among other prohibited items, similar to other interventions previously carried out in other prisons, with the aim of stopping the series of prison massacres that have killed more than 400 prisoners since 2020 due to clashes between these gangs.
Weeks ago in the Guayaquil prison complex A group of five prisons housing about 12,300 prisoners, where in the hands of the prisoners they found an arsenal of weapons of war such as rifles, grenade launchers and grenades.
For the first time, police and military entered one of the prisons believed to be controlled by Los Lobos to seize weapons, causing riots in other prisons controlled by the same criminal group, such as the cities of Cuenca, Azogues and Machala.
Although police are still investigating the connection between the blasts in Quito and those in the other two cities, the similarity between them and the temporal association between them makes investigators think, and they do, about a connection behind these “terrorist acts” could be a criminal gang, how they were rated.
Both car bombs and riots apply to the police an organized crime response to the interventions carried out in conjunction with the armed forces is being conducted in prisons to disarm the criminal gangs that internally control the country’s prisons.
So far, ten people have been arrested for alleged links to the two cars that blew up in Quito and none in connection with the other two events in southern Ecuador.
It is the first to be registered in the capital of Ecuador alleged simultaneous attack with car bombssomething that was already evident last year in Guayaquil, one of the epicenters of the country’s violent crisis, as it is home to Ecuador’s largest port and a major exit door for organized crime’s cocaine trade.
Guards held by prisoners
The largest riot occurred in Cuenca prison, where prisoners held 57 agents, including 50 SNAI prison guards and seven police officers. A total of 600 police officers and soldiers have remained outside the prison without entering it since Wednesday.
“We are concerned for the safety of our officers, both police officers and prison officers,” admitted Zapata, who explained the authorities manage a number of measures to protect the integrity of the detainees, Although he said he couldn’t reveal it for security reasons.
A video allegedly taken from inside Cuenca prison went viral on social media, apparently by the police and prison guards detained there, who appealed to the government to find a solution that would allow her to be released. According to local reports, another fifteen guards are being held at Machala Prison, but this has not yet been confirmed by the SNAI.
There was also an attempted riot at Quito’s Virgilio Guerrero Juvenile Correctional Facility, where youths started a fire on the second and third floors of that facility, forcing firefighters to scramble to control the flames without injury came .
These episodes are part of the growing wave of violence involving Ecuador, As a result, the number of premeditated homicides per 100,000 people in the country rose from 5.8 in 2022 to 25.32 in five years, the highest figure in its history, with repeated homicides and massacres linked to organized crime and drug trafficking.