Daniel Noboa takes the army to the streets of Ecuador| Fotos: EFE/AP

QUITO (CNN) — In response to a recent escalation of gang-related violence, Ecuador has undertaken a sweeping national security operation resulting in the arrest of nearly 900 individuals since Tuesday, according to the country’s presidency.

Out of the 859 detained, 94 are identified as members of what the presidency labels as “terrorist” groups. The violence erupted following the prison escape of Adolfo “Fito” Macías, one of Ecuador’s most influential drug lords, over the weekend, leading to a series of explosive incidents, police kidnappings, and prison disturbances.

On Tuesday, President Daniel Noboa declared a “state of internal armed conflict,” directing security forces to “neutralize” criminal gangs accused of instigating extreme violence. In a presidential decree, 22 criminal gangs were designated as “terrorist” organizations.

As part of additional security measures, the Ecuadorian government announced on Thursday that foreigners entering from Colombia or Peru must provide a criminal record certificate, aiming to “prevent and control the entry of individuals who constitute a threat or risk to public safety.”

President Noboa asserted that 90% of foreign prisoners in Ecuador are Colombians, Peruvians, and Venezuelans. The violence, fueled by Fito’s escape, prompted a series of violent attacks by criminal groups to deter efforts to curb their activities.

Ecuador, historically known as an “island of peace,” faces challenges as it grapples with its strategic location as a key transit point for cocaine trafficking between the major producers, Peru and Colombia. The recent wave of violence has raised concerns about public safety and prompted robust government actions to restore order and security.


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