Nearly two weeks after a bloody fight among inmates at a prison in central Ecuador killed at least 16, another explosive attack killed five police Ecuadorean police officers on Tuesday, reported multiple local media. As per the reports, the incident happened in response to prisoner transfers from overcrowded and "violent jails". Subsequently, President Guillermo Lasso declared a state of emergency in two provinces-- Guayas and Esmeraldas. During an emergency, it limits the freedom of assembly and movement. According to El Telegrafo, a Spanish-language daily newspaper in Ecuador, at least nine attacks were launched with explosives and firearms against police and oil installations by organised crime groups on Tuesday. The officials said the attacks were in response to a transfer of inmates from Guayas 1 prison.
"He dispuesto actuar con dureza dentro del marco de la ley. Estamos tomando acciones para precautelar la seguridad ciudadana. Se declara Estado de Excepción en Guayas y Esmeraldas y toque de queda desde hoy, 1 de noviembre, 21h00", @LassoGuillermo. pic.twitter.com/Mq8W2HhlW5— Comunicación Ecuador (@ComunicacionEc) November 1, 2022
While addressing a press conference, the President termed the incident "sabotage and terrorism" and added the acts as a "declaration of war against the Government and you, the citizens". "I have arranged to act harshly within the framework of the law. We are taking action to protect citizen security. The State of Exception is declared in Guayas and Esmeraldas and a curfew begins today, November 1, at 9:00 p.m," he said. Our actions against organized crime have been forceful, their reaction will not intimidate the actions of @PoliciaEcuador and @FFAAECUADOR. The work of our institutions will continue firm and in favour of the security of Ecuadorians," Guillermo Lasso tweeted after the incident. Also, the President, who is scheduled to visit the United States this week, has cancelled his trip amid the series of deadly attacks.
It is worth noting that the deadly clashes in Ecudar prisons have become common as several riots have been reported in the last 3-4 years. According to the report, at least 400 inmates were killed in the past three years. According to some human rights activists, more than 100 prisoners were killed in 2020. As per the media reports, the prisons of Ecuador are under the internal control of prison guides, with minimal preparation. Police can only access prisons in case of emergency.