Quito, Aug 31 (EFE).- A second car bomb exploded in Quito in the early hours of Thursday after the first one went off five hours earlier on Wednesday night.
Both vehicles were set on fire from the inside using gas cylinders, according to police.
The first explosion occurred on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. in a commercial area in the northern center of Quito without causing any casualties.
The second bomb also didn’t cause any casualties, but damaged the exterior of the building of the National Service of Integral Attention to Persons Deprived of Liberty, the state agency in charge of the control and custody of Ecuador’s prisons.
Quito’s mayor, Pabel Muñoz, said on Teleamazonas that it had been “a very complex and strange day and early morning,” referring to the two car bombs and the three grenades that were detonated in a controlled manner on Wednesday morning.
Similar car bombs have been planted several times during the past year in the port city of Guayaquil, one of the epicenters of the country’s violence.
However, this is the first time such a thing has happened in the capital.
SIX PEOPLE ARRESTED
Police General Pablo Ramirez said that six people, including a Colombian citizen, were arrested on Wednesday night for their alleged connection to the first car bomb.
Three of them had been arrested two weeks earlier for robbing a truck and for kidnapping and extortion, but were released on parole.
The general said the suspects were captured while traveling in a stolen vehicle allegedly used in the attack, and in which agents found two gas cylinders, a slow fuse and “what appeared to be sticks of dynamite.”
RETALIATION FROM INSIDE THE PRISONS
Ramirez attributed the attack to an alleged retaliation by organized crime for a series of prisoner transfers that took place on Wednesday, as both explosions occurred in locations that are or have been connected to the headquarters of the Prison Control Department.
Earlier on Wednesday, police and armed forces had carried out an operation at the Latacunga prison in the province of Cotopaxi, which sparked riots at other prisons in the provinces of Azuay and Cañar.
All three prisons are allegedly controlled by the Los Lobos criminal gang, whose leaders include Luis Arboleda, better known as “Gordo Luis,” who was arrested in Colombia in July and, according to an unofficial source, transferred to the maximum security La Roca prison near Guayaquil.
The operation carried out on Wednesday is part of the series of interventions under a state of emergency declaration for the national penitentiary system that aims to disarm the criminal gangs that control the prisons and avoid new massacres such as those that have left more than 400 prisoners dead since 2020.