Ecuador blames organized crime for deadly blast in Guayaquil

TEHRAN, Aug. 15 (MNA) – Ecuadorian President has declared a state of emergency in the country’s second-largest city of Guayaquil after an explosion blamed on “organized-crime mercenaries” killed at least five people and injured 17 others.

The state of emergency will be in force in the southwestern coastal city from Sunday, and will last for 30 days, said Security Secretary Diego Ordonez at a news conference, according to Al Jazeera.

Lasso warned on Twitter that his year-old government would “not allow organized crime to try to control the country”.

Ecuador’s prosecutor’s office said on its Twitter handle that its agents were gathering evidence to establish the cause and motive for the attack that destroyed eight houses and two cars.

Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo said the five dead had been identified and none had a criminal record.

He also said 17 people were wounded in the blast, which he blamed on “organized-crime mercenaries”, long involved in illicit drug traffic.

“It is a declaration of war against the state,” Carrillo added on Twitter.

Located between Colombia and Peru, the world’s two largest cocaine producers, Ecuador is facing a drug-fuelled crime wave that has produced scenes of horror, including decapitated bodies hanging from bridges.

Tensions between rival drug gangs have reached into Ecuador’s prisons, where clashes and massacres have caused at least 400 deaths since February 2021.

“Either we confront it [organized crime] together, or society will pay an even higher price,” Carrillo said.

ZZ/PR

News Code 190246

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