Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

L’éevasion Feared criminal forces state of emergency in Ecuador

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Soldiers are stationed at the entrance to El Inca prison after riots took place there.

Agence France-Presse

Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa on Monday declared a state of emergency for his entire country, including in the prison system, after the escape of public enemy No. 1 , Adolfo Macias, aka “Fito”, leader of the largest criminal gang, and following prison uprisings.

I just signed decree on the state of emergency so that the armed forces have all the political and legal support in their actions, Mr. Noboa said in a video released by the presidency.

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Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa during a visit to a factory in Quito in September 2023.< /p>

The army is thus authorized to work for 60 days to maintain order in the streets and prisons of the country where a curfew has was declared between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time.

Security forces are hard at work to find this extremely dangerous individual who allegedly fled on Sunday, a few hours before a control operation carried out in the Guayaquil prison (in the south), declared the government communications secretary. , Roberto Izurieta, referring to infiltrations.

The public prosecutor announced Monday on the social network the escape of Fito, who had been serving a 34-year prison sentence for organized crime, drug trafficking and murder since 2011.

On Sunday, the police chief admitted to the press that he could not be found in the place where he should have been, a high-security cell in the port city penitentiary. The public prosecutor then opened an investigation into the alleged escape of Fito, 44, leader of the Choneros, a gang of around 8,000 men, according to experts, which had become the main player in the flourishing drug trade in Ecuador. p>LoadingA private American moon landing in danger in space

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Fito had already escaped in 2013, with other prisoners, from a high-security prison and was recaptured after three months.

Roberto Izurieta deplored that the level of infiltration of criminal groups within the state is very high and described the Ecuadorian penitentiary system as a failure.

The search [for "Fito"] continues […] He will be found, he must be found. […] [He is a] criminal with extremely dangerous characteristics, whose activities have characteristics of terrorism.

A quote from Roberto Izurieta, Secretary of Communications of the Ecuadorian Government

We will not negotiate with terrorists and we will not stop until we bring peace to all Ecuadorians, Noboa insisted .

Police and soldiers entered heavily armed several prisons in the country, particularly those where guards were sequestered.

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At Turi prison in Cuenca, inmates hold prison guards hostage.< /p>

Images posted on social media, which could not be verified, showed guards being held at knifepoint by hooded men, pleading with the government to act cautiously and not send troops in prisons.

Videos later released by the armed forces showed detainees lying in prison courtyards with their hands on their heads. The prison administration (SNAI) indicated that no one was injured following these incidents.

We have taken steps that will allow us to regain control [of the prisons].

A quote from Daniel Noboa, President of Ecuador

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Fito's name has made headlines in recent months following the assassination in early August of one of the main candidates in the presidential election. The victim, a former journalist and parliamentarian, had reported death threats from the leader of the Choneros shortly before his execution.

Sporting a large beard , Fito, known to be very charismatic, studied law in prison until obtaining his lawyer's degree. A song in his glory by a Mexican group, with video clip and images filmed in his cell, was recently broadcast on social networks.

A country that has become a logistics center for the shipment of cocaine to the United States and Europe, Ecuador is ravaged by violence gangs and drug traffickers. Homicides increased by nearly 800% between 2018 and 2023, from 6 to 46 per 100,000 residents.

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The army is authorized to work for 60 days to maintain order in the streets and prisons of the country where a curfew was declared between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time.

Prisons are the scene of recurring massacres between rival gangs. Since February 2021, there have been at least a dozen carnages that have left more than 460 detainees dead. The authorities have so far proven incapable of firmly regaining control.

Mr. Noboa, the youngest president in the history of Ecuador, was elected in the fall of 2023 on the promise of curbing insecurity in the country and regaining control of prisons.

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