On January 9th, President Daniel Noboa declared an internal armed conflict, mobilizing the Armed Forces in the country.
Esteban Torres, the Vice Minister of Government, stated on Saturday, January 20, 2024, that the daily average of violent deaths in Ecuador has significantly reduced from 28 to 6, thanks to recent actions by the Government of Daniel Noboa.
“In light of the latest government decisions, we have successfully brought down the daily average of violent deaths from 28 to 6,” he shared on his social media account X.
Torres emphasized that within a span of 40 days, more progress has been made than in the two preceding administrations, which he criticized for their lack of effective measures and the destabilization of Ecuador.
“Far from celebrating it, let it serve to confirm that we are on the right path, and we must not give up. Let us remain united as a country, and we will win,” Torres concluded.
The past week witnessed a surge in attacks and violent incidents attributed to organized crime, including the kidnapping of police officers, murders, explosive devices, burning vehicles, prison riots with hostages, and the takeover of a television channel by thirteen armed and hooded men.
“Iron Fist” has stated in prisons
This wave of violence coincided with Noboa’s preparation to implement his “iron fist” plan aimed at regaining control of prisons, many of which were under the influence of organized crime gangs.
Since 2020, over 450 prisoners have lost their lives in a series of prison massacres involving rival groups. The violence spilled onto the streets, making Ecuador one of the most violent countries globally, with approximately 45 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2023, according to the Ecuadorian Organized Crime Observatory—the highest recorded figure to date.
In response to last week’s violence, Noboa declared a state of emergency, imposing a curfew from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., and declared an “internal war” against organized crime gangs.
With the declaration of an internal armed conflict, these gangs are now considered terrorist groups, and the Armed Forces have taken charge of the country’s security to neutralize them as non-state belligerent actors.