Quito: Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso has declared a state of emergency for 60 days in the coastal provinces of Guayas, Esmeraldas and Manabi, which have been plagued by delinquency and criminality related to drug trafficking.
Lasso announced the measure on Friday in a message broadcast live by the General Secretariat of Communication of the Presidency, reports Xinhua news agency.
“By executive decree I have declared a state of emergency in the provinces of Guayas, Manabi and Esmeraldas, effective as of midnight today,” said the President.
A curfew will be in force from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. in urban areas of the three provinces, where organised and transnational crime associated with drug trafficking has been rampant, leading to acts of violence.
Under the state of emergency, 9,000 uniformed personnel — 4,000 from the National Police and 5,000 from the Armed Forces — are to be deployed to restore peace and order.
“We are going to take the fight against criminals to the very territory where they try to hide,” Lasso said, adding that the peace of Ecuadorans “will never be sacrificed to anyone’s dirty business”.
Since taking office, Lasso has launched a frontal fight against drug mafias, which are blamed for the increase in crime and insecurity in recent months across the country.
The wave of violence has engulfed Ecuadoran prisons since 2021.
Last year alone, over 300 inmates were killed in prison riots in this South American country.