Crime & Justice

2 Police killed in wave of gang-related attacks in Ecuador

Quito, Nov 1 (EFE).- A string of gang-related attacks rocked the Ecuadorian coastal provinces of Guayas and Esmeraldas in the pre-dawn hours, one of which killed two police officers, the interior minister confirmed Tuesday.

In a press conference, Juan Zapata said the two officers were killed when members of an organized crime group attacked their patrol car in the southwestern port city of Guayaquil.

“We’re pursuing those responsible and won’t rest” until they have been taken into custody, he said, adding that two other police were injured in a separate attack.

“This year has been very sad and tragic for the National Police,” Zapata said, recalling that – following these latest deaths – 61 officers have now been killed in the line of duty in 2022.

Besides the incidents that resulted in the police casualties, there were “six attacks with explosives in the city of Guayaquil and three in the (northwestern) city of Esmeraldas,” the minister said.

The official called on all state institutions to battle the gangs, saying the struggle is one that not only concerns the National Police and the national government.

Ecuador’s population also needs to unite in a “civic crusade,” Zapata said. “Now, more than ever, we need your support.”

In a press conference, National Police commander Fausto Salinas denounced the “heinous and cowardly attacks,” which he said began late Monday and continued into the wee hours of Tuesday.

A prison riot occurred early Tuesday at the Esmeraldas prison as a protest against potential transfers of inmates, Salinas said, adding that seven guards were taken hostage but then subsequently released.

Ecuador’s prison agency said transfers are carried out to ease overcrowding.

A series of car burnings and bomb attacks targeting vehicles and police units then ensued, according to the police commander, who said two assailants also hurled an explosive device at a gas station, causing material damage.

He added that one of the explosives detonated inside a school vehicle. EFE


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