Quito, Aug 14 (EFE).- The government of Ecuador on Sunday declared a state of emergency to mobilize armed forces in the port city of Guayaquil after an explosion killed five people and injured at least another 17.
President Guillermo Lasso announced the move on his Twitter account and said he has ordered security forces to maintain control and security in Guayaquil.
“We will not allow organized crime to try to run the country,” added the president, as ministers offered a press conference on initial investigations.
He had earlier described the incident as “terrorist acts.”
Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo reported that homemade explosives made from chemical substances were used in the attack.
The blast killed two women and a man at the site of the incident, while two other people died in hospitals, added Carrillo.
Of the 17 injured, two are in “critical condition,” he said, and the explosion affected around eight houses.
The power of the explosive placed on the road next to a house in the Cristo del Consuelo neighborhood generated a hole 1.6 meters wide and 36-40 centimeters deep, while its blast wave reached between 60 and 70 meters, he said.
Photos from the scene showed destroyed vehicles and facades of houses.
The minister said the attacks were presumably directed against two people known by the aliases Cucaracha (cockroach) and Junior, who are linked to the Los Tiguerones gang, which is in turn linked to drug micro-trafficking and massacres that have taken place over the last two years in various Ecuadorian prisons.
Carrillo said that the incident adds to another 58 “minor terrorism” events that have been recorded in Guayaquil.
Public security secretary Diego Ordóñez sai that the government’s emergency decree includes the formation of a joint task force between the police and the armed forces to restore order in the sector and support investigations.
Minister of Government Francisco Jiménez affirmed that the attack has “terrorist characteristics” and was apparently linked to organized crime gangs. EFE