Ecuador | After the release of the hostages, army and police regain control in the prisons

(Quito) The Ecuadorian army and police regained control of several prisons on Sunday after the release during the night of 136 prison officials, including guards, who had been hostages of mutineers there for a week.




Against the backdrop of the “war” opened in recent days between criminal gangs linked to drug trafficking and the security forces, the army released images showing hundreds of detainees lined up with their hands on their heads, bare-chested or in their underwear. , held at gunpoint by soldiers.

Strictly supervised by the soldiers, the prisoners had to sing the national anthem, in close ranks at the foot of the Ecuadorian flag.

According to the police, the police have regained “total control” of four prisons. At the start of the morning, they had “entered the prisons of Esmeraldas, Machala, Aogues, Cotopaxi, Loja and Tungurahua to regain control of the pavilions”.

The situation remains normal in the vast prison complex of Guayaquil (southwest), the largest prison, housing the worst criminals, spared by the recent mutinies.

PHOTO IVAN ALVARADO, REUTERS

Soldiers are stationed near the Guayaquil prison complex.

This nationwide operation was launched a few hours after the release of all the people, more than 130 guards and other officials, taken hostage by the mutineers.

“This night, security protocols and the joint action of the national police and army allowed the release of all the hostages who were held in different prisons in the country,” according to the prison administration (SNAI).

President Daniel Noboa welcomed the event. According to the police, 46 people were released from Cotopaxi prison (center), 13 from Tungurahua prison (center) and 15 others from El Oro prison (southwest), where the lifeless body of a civil servant.

Images released by police showed the guards, including many women, in tears, exhausted and supported by their colleagues shortly after their release.

“Thank God we all came out okay. We are in good health,” the freed hostages from Cotopaxi said in another video on social media, waving an Ecuadorian flag.

For a week, hostages, knives to their throats or guns to their heads, have been calling on the authorities for help and restraint, in videos broadcast on the networks. At least two of them, one of whom was hanged, were executed by the mutineers, according to gruesome images.

Mediation

In total, nearly 175 people, guards and other prison administration officials, were taken hostage at the end of last week. Around forty of them were released during the day on Saturday, with the authorities citing mediation by the Catholic Church.

Throughout these hostage situations, the prison administration gave very few details, with security forces confronting mutinous prisoners in some penitentiaries and negotiating in others.

The announcement of the escape on January 7 from the Guayaquil complex (southwest) of the feared leader of the Choneros gang Adolfo Macias, alias “Fito”, provoked a wave of mutinies with hostage-taking in at least five prisons , attacks against law enforcement and other acts aimed at sowing terror. At least 19 people were killed, according to the latest official report.

President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency and ordered the army to neutralize these criminal gangs, now considered “terrorists”.

More than 22,400 troops have been deployed, with land, air and sea patrols. Searches and other operations were carried out in prisons, while a curfew was imposed.

After a wave of panic throughout Ecuador caused by the live attack Tuesday on the studios of a public television channel in Guayaquil, a large port on the southwest coast which is the epicenter of drug trafficker violence, the situation has returned to relative normality.

This is the case, during the day, in Guayaquil as in Quito, the capital, even if Ecuadorians quickly return to the safety of their homes at the end of the afternoon.

Once a haven of peace, Ecuador has in recent years become the shipping center for cocaine produced in neighboring Colombia and Peru.

Drug traffickers have gradually imposed their law in this country, given over to the violence of criminal gangs. Ecuadorian prisons, overcrowded and divided into sections controlled by gangs, are regularly the scene of massacres between these rival gangs: Choneros (those from Chone, a town in western Ecuador), Tiguerones (Tigers), Lobos (those from Chone, a town in western Ecuador), Tiguerones (Tigers), Lobos (those from Chone, a town in western Ecuador), Tiguerones (Tigers), Lobos (those from Chone, a town in western Ecuador), Tiguerones (Tigers), Lobos (those from Chone, a town in western Ecuador), Tiguerones (Tigers), Lobos (those from Chone, a town in western Ecuador), Tiguerones (Tigers), Lobos (those from Chone, a town in western Ecuador), Tiguerones (Tigers), Wolves) and other Aguilas (Eagles).

Daniel Noboa, 36, was elected last November as the youngest president in the history of Ecuador on the promise of restoring security.

His predecessor, the conservative Guillermo Lasso, was confronted with several bouts of violence in prisons and declared a state of emergency more than once, without managing to regain control of the situation and more generally to stem trafficking. drugs, linked to corruption, which is blighting the country.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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