Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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Blast in Ecuador leaves five dead, 16 injured; govt blames gangs

New Delhi: At least five people have died and 16 were injured in an explosion on Sunday in the Ecuadoran port city of Guayaquil in an attack the government blamed on organised crime, officials said.

Patricio Carrillo, the interior minister, claimed that “organized-crime mercenaries,” who have long been involved in the illegal drug trade, are “now attacking with explosives.”

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

According to the Secretariat for Risk Management, the explosion in Guayaquil, the second-largest city in the nation, destroyed eight houses and two cars.

Ecuador, which is sandwiched between Colombia and Peru, the world’s two biggest producers of cocaine, is dealing with a drug-fueled crime wave that has resulted in horrifying sights like beheaded victims hanging from bridges.

At least 400 people have died in battles and massacres in Ecuadorian prisons since February 2021 as a result of tensions between rival drug gangs.

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

The most recent data from the United Nations shows that Ecuador was responsible for 6.5 per cent of all cocaine captured globally in 2020.

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