Ecuador declares criminal gangs terrorists to allow military deal with them

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Criminal gangs in Ecuador, were, on Thursday, declared terrorists, a move that will allow the military to pursue them with greater freedom.

The decision was taken by the Public and State Security Council in a meeting presided over by President Guillermo Lasso.

Security Secretary, Wagner Bravo, said after the meeting: “We are currently experiencing an indiscriminate attack by organised crime, which has seen us as a weak country,” adding that the new measure would allow security forces to confront organized crime bands without having to wait for the periodic declaration of states of emergency that offer them extra powers and limit some citizen rights.

The growing crimanal gangs in Ecuador are believed to have links to the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, both in Mexico.

Read Also:Three people, including two children dead as tourist boat capsizes in Ecuador

According to reports, drug gangs have been waging a bloody war for power in the prisons and on the streets of Ecuador, leading to more than 420 prisoners dead since 2021, while the murder rate out the prisons has doubled.

Bravo, a retired army general who assumed his new office on Wednesday, said after the council meeting that the state is ready “to declare that the terrorist threat is going to be confronted in a firm way.”

President Lasso has issued more than a dozen states of emergency since taking office in May 2021 in order to mobilize the military to the streets and implement curfews in the face of high crime rates.

Ecuador is located between Colombia and Peru, the world’s largest producers of cocaine, with Lasso’s government seizing more than 450 tons of drugs, mainly cocaine.

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