Ecuador: Several people killed, injured in deadly blast in Guayaquil
By Vatican News staff writer
At least 5 people were killed and 17 others injured in an explosion that rocked Ecuador’s port city of Guayaquil on Sunday.
Ecuadorian authorities said that the deadly incident was a part of organized crime, and have declared a state of emergency in the country’s largest city of Guayaquil.
According to reports, eight houses and two cars were destroyed in the Sunday morning blast.
Images online showed the front of houses damaged and smashed cars with their windows blown in.
Against organized crime
In a series of tweets, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso, expressed his condolences to the families of the victims of the blast on Sunday and said that he had ordered the Security Cabinet to take all necessary measures to protect the city of Guayaquil.
Lasso also condemned “any criminal acts that endangers the lives of Ecuadorians” and warned that his year-old government “would not allow organized crime to try to control the country.”
Interior Minister, Patricio Carrillo, said that the five dead had been identified, and not one had a criminal record.
He blamed the blast on “organized-crime mercenaries” involved in illicit drug trade and describe the incident as “a declaration of war against the state.”
Following Sunday’s explosion, Guayaquil’s mayor, Cynthia Viteri, wrote an open letter to the president expressing concern that “criminal gangs have become a government within a government in Ecuador.”
Viteri noted that Ecuadorians have witnessed people “hanging from bridges, murders on motorcycles and rapes at shopping centers and on school buses.”
She highlighted that “a president is the protector of his people” and urged efforts to combat crime in the Andean country.
This latest state of emergency is the fourth emergency to be declared in Ecuador since October because of gang violence. It will be in force from Sunday and will last for 30 days.
Guayaquil, Ecuador’s most populous city is an important trade hub. The city has seen shocking levels of violence linked to gang activity.
Tensions between rival gangs have extended into Ecuador’s prisons where 400 inmates have been killed in six separate riots since February 2021.