Ecuador declares emergency over drug violence, orders troops onto streets

WION Web Team
Quito Published: Oct 19, 2021, 08:55 AM(IST)

File Photo Photograph:( AFP )

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Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso mobilises police and troops in the streets as the South American country grapples with a surge in drug-related violence.

As Ecuador reels from its worst prison massacre, President, Guillermo Lasso, has proclaimed a state of emergency in the country, which is dealing with an increase in drug-related violence, and has ordered the mobilisation of police and military forces on the streets.

"On Ecuador's streets, there is only one enemy: drug trafficking," claimed the right-wing leader, adding that "in recent years, Ecuador has gone from being a drug-trafficking country to one that also consumes narcotics." 

"Starting immediately, our Armed Forces and police will be felt with force in the streets because we are decreeing a state of emergency throughout the national territory," said the president in a speech broadcast by the state channel EcuadorTV.

Lasso appointed a new defence minister earlier Monday, as the country grapples with a huge jail issue.

The most recent prison tragedy in Ecuador claimed the lives of 119 prisoners. 

Meanwhile, a recent run of narcotics seizures, fueled in part by enhanced enforcement, supports police concerns that Ecuador is a hub for South American arms trafficking.

During a cocaine bust in Guayaquil in August, police recovered 10 heavy-caliber guns. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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