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2024 Ecuadorian conflict

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2024 Ecuadorian conflict
Part of the Ecuadorian security crisis and the War on drugs in Ecuador

Ecuadorian military on 13 January
Date9 January 2024 – present
(6 months and 3 days)
Location
Status Ongoing
Belligerents
Ecuador Government of Ecuador Organized crime groups, notably Los Choneros
Commanders and leaders
Units involved

Armed civilians
Several organisations[1]
Casualties and losses
2 police officers killed[2]
4 police officers kidnapped[3]
5 killed[4]
more than 1,400 suspects detained[2][4][5]
8 civilians killed[2]

On 9 January 2024, an armed conflict broke out in Ecuador surrounding the country's government against several organized crime groups and drug traffickers. Several people have been killed in armed attacks while reports of businesses and vehicles being vandalized and burned have been reported. Several police officers and prison guards were also kidnapped.

Attacks[change | change source]

On 9 January 2024, organized crime groups in Ecuador issued threats of "war", prompting the country's president to declare a state of armed internal conflict.[6][7] On the same day, gunmen entered a television studio in Guayaquil, where they took journalists hostage during a live newscast.[8]

Reports of armed attacks throughout Guayaquil were reported, mainly in prisons, markets, roads, and universities.[9][10] The large-scale attacks were a combination of responses to the escape of Los Choneros leader José Adolfo Macías Villamar in Guayaquil,[11] and President Daniel Noboa declaring a state of emergency and then an internal state of war.[10]

Explosions were also reported across the country, particularly in Guayaquil, Cuenca, Machala, and Loja, as well as in Esmeraldas and Los Rios Provinces.[12]

Banks, markets, and shops were closed throughout the country in cities such as Quito and Guayaquil to protect merchants and customers from armed attacks.[13][14]

On 11 January, two people were killed and nine others were injured in an arson attack on a nightclub in Coca.[15]

On 13 January, the government announced that all 178 prison guards and other employees held hostage in prisons across the country since that start of the unrest by the gangs had been freed.[16]

Response[change | change source]

President Daniel Noboa said that the country was having an "internal armed conflict" and ordered the military to carry out operations to stop armed groups.[17]

Background[change | change source]

Since 2018, Ecuador has seen an increase in wave of violence as the country has become a critical cocaine transit point, and organized crime groups compete for control of drug routes and prisons. Hundreds of prison inmates have been killed in prison fights.[18]

According to The Washington Post, intelligence analysts said that the attacks may have been caused by a recent investigation into links between drug traffickers, criminal gangs, and political operators. The operation, known as Metastasis, led to the arrests of at least 20 top security officials and judges in December 2023.[18]

References[change | change source]

  1. "Daniel Noboa decreta estado de conflicto interno". Publimetro. 2024-01-09. Archived from the original on 10 January 2024. Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "At least ten dead, including two police officers, left the wave of drug violence in Ecuador" (in Spanish). Infobae. 10 January 2024. Archived from the original on 10 January 2024. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  3. "Ecuador TV studio taken over live on air by masked people brandishing guns". Reuters. 9 January 2024. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Solano, Gonzalo; Molina, Gabriela (13 January 2024). "Casi 900 detenidos y 5 delincuentes abatidos en Ecuador ante despliegue militar y alza de impuestos" [Almost 900 detainees with 5 criminals killed in Ecuador following military deployment after tax increases]. Associated Press (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 13 January 2024. Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  5. "Ecuador's millennial president rounds up prison gangs". The Telegraph. 15 January 2024. Retrieved 15 January 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. "Ecuador In State Of 'Internal Armed Conflict': President". Barron's. Archived from the original on 10 January 2024. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  7. LOPEZ, Paola (9 January 2024). "Gunshots on live TV as Ecuador gangsters vow 'war'". The Herald Palladium. Archived from the original on 10 January 2024. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  8. "Gunmen burst into Ecuador TV studio, take journalists hostage live on air". France24. 9 January 2024. Archived from the original on 9 January 2024. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  9. "Ecuador in complete chaos as gunmen take over TV station and terrorize college campus". MARCA. 9 January 2024. Archived from the original on 10 January 2024. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  10. 10.0 10.1 John, Tara (2024-01-09). "Ecuador declares 'internal armed conflict' as gunmen take over live TV broadcast". CNN. Archived from the original on 9 January 2024. Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  11. "A notorious Ecuadorian gang leader vanishes from prison and authorities investigate if he escaped". AP. 8 January 2024. Archived from the original on 8 January 2024. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  12. "Armed gang storms Ecuador TV studio after state of emergency declared". Al Jazeera. 9 January 2024. Archived from the original on 9 January 2024. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  13. "Locales comerciales de Quito y los valles cerraron ante alerta de saqueos". El Universo. 9 January 2024. Archived from the original on 10 January 2024. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  14. "Mercados municipales cierran anticipademente ante hechos delictivos en Guayaquil" (in Spanish). El Universo. 9 January 2024. Archived from the original on 11 January 2024. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  15. "Violence rattles Ecuador as a nightclub arson kills 2 and a bomb scare sparks an evacuation". Associated Press. 12 January 2024. Archived from the original on 12 January 2024. Retrieved 12 January 2024.
  16. "Scores of hostages released from gang-controlled prisons, Ecuador government claims". The Guardian. 14 January 2024. Archived from the original on 14 January 2024. Retrieved 15 January 2024.
  17. "Ecuador: Noboa declara conflicto armado interno y ordena a los militares neutralizar a grupos criminales". El Comercio. 2024-01-09. Archived from the original on 10 January 2024. Retrieved 10 January 2024.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Schmidt, Samantha (2024-01-10). "Ecuador TV station stormed by gunmen, president declares state of conflict". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2024-01-10.