Five people were killed and 16 injured in an attack in Guayaquil (Ecuador), which the Ecuadorian government blamed on organized crime, according to authorities and emergency services.
Organized crime mercenaries […] attacked us today with explosives. […] It’s a declaration of war on the state,” Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo wrote on Twitter, quoted by AFP.
The precise circumstances of the explosion have not yet been released by law enforcement, but eight houses and two cars were destroyed, according to the emergency services (SNGR).
“Either we are able to unite to face [organized crime] or the price to pay will be even greater for society,” said Carrillo.
Neighboring Colombia and Peru, the world’s two biggest cocaine producers, Ecuador is now touted as a hub for drug shipments to Europe and the United States and a site of territorial disputes between various gangs, according to officials and analysts.
According to a recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ecuador, with a population of 18 million, is the third country in the world with the largest cocaine seizures in 2020, followed by Colombia and the United States.
From 2021 until now, more than 300 tons of cocaine have been confiscated, the interior minister said.
Clashes between gangs in prisons have claimed more than 350 deaths among detainees since February 2021.
Source: With Agencies