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Ecuadorian military, police raid prisons to regain control amid 'state of emergency'

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-01-15 10:24

A view shows the Turi prison while Ecuadorean armed forces take part in an operation to take control of it, in Cuenca, Ecuador Jan 14, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

QUITO - Ecuador's army and police contingent raided the country's prisons Sunday to regain control following the total release of agents and prison officers who were taken hostage in this week's riots.

The armed forces and the national police confirmed joint operations in prisons, including the confiscation of explosives and other prohibited items.

Approximately 800 military and police officers participated in Sunday's operation in Machala city, in the province of El Oro, "retaking control and conducting searches inside the prison", the military said on X, formerly Twitter.

It added that the "total control" of the prison of Turi, in the province of Azuay, has also been retaken, following a military deployment in the prison that began in the early hours of Sunday.

Another 1,100 uniformed personnel raided the prison in the northern city of Esmeraldas, capital of the Esmeraldas Province, and "confiscated explosives, alcohol and household appliances" in the prison.

Riots in Ecuador's prisons erupted on Jan 8 after drug lord Adolfo Macias absconded from a prison in the city of Guayaquil.

On Jan 9, President Daniel Noboa's government decreed a "state of emergency" for 60 days, including imposing a night curfew in response to the escalation of violence in the country, attributed to the actions of organized crime groups.

Noboa refused to negotiate with "drug terrorists" and declared an "internal armed conflict" in the country, allowing troops to be deployed on the streets to fight "terrorist" groups.

As of Saturday, security forces had carried out 10,478 operations in the country's 24 provinces, arresting 1,105 people, 125 of whom were "terrorists".

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