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23 Apr 18:38

About our Ecuador news

Latest news on Ecuador, providing comprehensive coverage of the ongoing armed conflict between the government and organised crime groups, key political developments, and the impact on daily life for Ecuadorians.

Ecuador has been gripped by violence since January 2024, when President Daniel Noboa declared an "internal armed conflict" following the escape of notorious gang leader José Adolfo Macías Villamar from prison and a series of brazen attacks by armed groups, including the storming of a TV station during a live broadcast. The government has mobilised the military to combat what it calls "terrorist organisations and belligerent non-state actors."

The conflict has seen deadly attacks on civilians, security forces, and public officials across the country. Prisons, hospitals, universities and roads have been targeted, with reports of explosions, arson, kidnappings and executions. Over 10,000 suspects have been detained so far, but key gang leaders remain at large. The murder rate has halved under the state of emergency but still remains high.

The crisis has disrupted daily life, with schools suspending in-person classes, businesses closing, transportation restrictions in the capital Quito, and a climate of fear gripping the population. Ecuador's major cities like Guayaquil have been particularly hard hit. The government is pursuing a hardline approach, vowing no negotiations with armed groups and introducing controversial security measures.

Ecuador's violence is rooted in its pivotal role in the international drug trade, positioned between major cocaine producers Colombia and Peru. The country has seen increasing use of its ports and transit routes by trafficking groups, fuelling the rise of powerful gangs that have infiltrated the prison system. Socioeconomic issues like poverty and unemployment have exacerbated the crisis.

President Noboa, who took office promising to tackle crime, now faces a critical test just months into his term. Ecuador's plight has drawn concern and support from neighbouring countries and international bodies, but the path to restoring stability remains uncertain as the conflict persists. For now, Ecuador's 17 million people face a difficult and dangerous period, as the NewsNow feed continues to cover the latest twists and turns in the crisis.

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