AMERICA/ECUADOR - Power struggle of criminal organizations: bomb attacks in the capital Quito

Friday, 1 September 2023 criminality   prisoners   drugs  

Quito (Agenzia Fides) - Drug traffickers are targeting Ecuador, where 50 guards and seven police officers are being held hostage in six of the country's main prisons. Meanwhile, in the capital Quito, two car bombs with gas cylinders and sticks of dynamite exploded on the night of August 30 in the northern part of the city. Due to the late hour, there were no injuries. One of the vehicles exploded in front of the prison administration building. Meanwhile, ten suspects, Ecuadorians and Colombians, have already been arrested by police in connection with the blasts.
With these actions, criminal gangs responded to the mobilization of thousands of soldiers and police officers in the country's prisons on Wednesday 30 August to seize weapons, ammunition and explosives, while many inmates rioted, mainly in Cuenca, Latacunga and Azogues to oppose the government's decision to transfer several gang leaders to other prisons in the country.
Ecuador has become a
battleground between local and foreign criminal groups, particularly Colombian and Mexican gangs, fighting to control the flows of cocaine entering North American and European markets from Colombia. It is also no coincidence that among the criminal groups active in the country there are also some gangs of Albanian origin, while the "Ndrangheta" from Calabria has long been present in Ecuador and operates the largest cocaine trade in the world.
Presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was assassinated in Ecuador on August 10 (see Fides, 10/8/2023). Meanwhile, on October 15th, the runoff in the presidential elections will take place between Luisa Gonzálezdi Revolución Ciudadana, who is close to former leftist President Rafael Correa, and Daniel Noboa of the “Acción Democrática Liberal”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 1/9/2023)