Ecuador: What is happening in Ecuador?  |  Is there an uptick in violence?

Ecuador lived in Easter one of its strongest escalations of violence since on January 9, the president Daniel Noboa declare the existence of an internal armed conflict. In the midst of a state of emergency, three massacres perpetrated by hitmen ended the lives of 17 people and left more than a dozen injured.

The situation led on Sunday to Attorney General’s Office of Ecuador (FGE) to issue a statement warning about attempts to Criminal organizations to destabilize the country and hinder ongoing investigations, such as those of the Metastasis Casewhere 52 people are prosecuted for alleged organized crime.

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He Exception status, initially imposed for 60 days in January, it was extended by the president Daniel Noboa on March 8 for 30 more days and it has not been reported if it will be extended again on April 8.

Under the Exception status the streets of the most violent cities in Ecuador were militarized to combat the gangs which became designated as terrorists but this has not prevented the criminality persist until we reach this new wave of violence over the weekend.

Figures from the Ministry of the Interior and the National Police cited by France 24 indicate that from January to March 2024, extortions and kidnappings of citizens have increased and, in the case of Guayaquil the figure has quintupled: it went from 120 cases in 2023 to 618 today.

This is what is known about the three massacres committed over the weekend:

Tourist massacre

On Thursday afternoon, six adults and five children, all Ecuadorian tourists, They arrived at the Ayampe spa in the province of Manabi to spend Holy Week.

The next day, About 20 armed and hooded people entered the hotel where the family was staying they snatched their phones, wallets and other belongings and They kidnapped them.

The same Friday, five of the kidnapped were found dead with gunshot wounds on the highway between Puerto López and Santa Elena, in the south of Manabi. They were all adults. A sixth person was found alive at the scene.

According to the Primicias EC portal, the survivor told the police that The kidnappers tied and blindfolded the adults and took them to an unknown destination along with the children.. They later shot down the adults.

The police confirmed that the five minors were rescued and handed over to relatives.

The local police commander Richard Vaca also reported that The victims were subjected to “interrogations” by the criminals.

According to the AFP agency, the police confirmed that The tourists had no ties to criminal organizations.

In the opinion of Commander Vaca, The attackers “would have apparently confused these subjects as their adversaries.” in the microtrafficking dispute in the sector.” The officer said these disputes involve gangs linked to Mexican drug cartels.

On Saturday, police reported that two people were arrested in connection with the tourist crime. Furthermore, he said that Automatic rifles, pistols, explosives and ammunition were seized from them.

Primicias reported that in Manabi the criminal gang The Wolves the most powerful of Ecuador wants to eliminate leaders of The Choneros another dangerous gang.

Police sources told Primicias that after the prison escape of the leader of The Choneros Adolfo Macías, alias ‘Fito’ which occurred at the beginning of this year, the criminal organization The Wolves seeks to eliminate his possible successors in Manabi generating a wave of murders.

The candidates to replace ‘Fito’ are his brother Javier Macías, alias ‘Javi‘; and Walter Fernando Burgos, alias ‘Yellow Chest‘, who in recent days was the target of two attacks.

Regarding the crime of tourists, the president Noboa expressed his “solidarity with the families” of the victims.

“This is a sign that narcoterrorism and its allies are looking for spaces to scare us, but they will not succeed,” he warned on the social network X.

Massacre in volleyball match

On Saturday night, nine people died and ten others were injured in an armed attack that occurred in Guasmo on in the south of Guayaquil while a match was being played volley in an alleyway.

According to the police, at approximately 6:55 p.m. local time, several armed individuals arrived aboard a vehicle and fired with automatic weapons.

Two people died instantly”police said in a statement. Several of the injured later died in hospital due to the severity of their injuries.

The police indicated that the vehicle used to commit the attack was a lead Chevrolet Spark. Furthermore, he indicated that About four people would be involved in the attack.

According to El Universo, the police reported that Among the nine deceased there are no people with criminal records and all were adults. Among the injured, one has a history of robbery in 2017.

At the scene of the attack they found 9 millimeter caliber firearm and long weapon casings.

Investigators maintain that the attack was not directed against one person, but rather the intention was to hit several.

Attack in Guayaquil

The third attack of the weekend occurred in Guayaquil when at least three people died and three others were injured at the hands of hitmen.

Sources from the Ministry of the Interior indicated to the EFE agency that around 8:00 p.m. local time in the Fort, “several subjects aboard motorcycles had fired firearms at a group of citizens who were gathered on public roads.”

In videos broadcast on social networks you can see the victims on the floor, while other citizens ask for help to transport the injured.

It has not been reported which criminal group would be involved in the crime or its motivations.

The warning call from the Prosecutor’s Office

Given the events of violence over the weekend, on Sunday morning, the Ecuadorian Attorney General’s Office warned about alleged attempts by criminal groups to destabilize the country and hinder ongoing investigations, such as those of the Metastatis Case, that investigates a plot of judicial, police and prison corruption.

In a statement, the Prosecutor’s Office reported that it continues working after having received the anticipated testimonies last Thursday in the aforementioned case where 52 people are prosecuted for alleged organized crime.

The Prosecutor’s Office alerted citizens regarding the “desperate attempts of criminal organizations, which – through various strategies that they have put into practice and others that they plan to execute – They seek to divert attention from these processes”.

“The cases uncovered through the investigations are just one step in the entire path that remains to be followed in favor of better days for the Ecuador”, he indicated.

Is there an uptick in violence in Ecuador?

Is Ecuador registering an uptick in violence? Ernesto Anzieta Ecuadorian specialist in security issues, told Trade that technically speaking, since the declaration of internal armed conflict and extraordinary security measures, such as the massive deployment of the Armed Forces, Crime in general was reduced in Ecuador.

“However, there are exceptions even with an increase in violence in coastal areas such as the province of Los Ríos. The Holy Week events, although notable in the media, are only a sample of the structural insecurity experienced by large border areas and the Ecuadorian coast. As an example, although there is talk of the government’s success in security, The escaped bosses at the beginning of the year have not yet been recaptured“nor has the whereabouts of the perpetrators of the explosions in the capital been found,” he said. old age.

The specialist added that not all cases are the same and that on the issue of violence We can talk about three different dynamics in the country: areas with real recovery, areas of relative peace and areas of structural violence.

About him Metastasis Case Anzieta said that it is not necessarily considered that its consequences materialize in violence in the streets, since this has a more structural background and the other has to do with corruption in the spheres of power, justice and the economy of Ecuador.

By Editor

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