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Police arrest suspect in deadly blast in Ecuador

#Police #arrest #suspect #deadly #blast #Ecuador

Ecuadorian police on Wednesday detained a suspect in a weekend blast that killed five people in the port city of Guayaquil and has been accused by the government of organized crime, the interior minister said on Wednesday.

The suspect “admitted involvement in the terrorist attack” in the neighborhood of Cristo del Consuelo, Minister Patricio Carrillo said on Twitter.

The man has “a history of murder and robbery,” he added.

Five people died and 17 were injured – two seriously – when two motorcyclists threw a bag of explosives into a restaurant in Guayaquil on Sunday.

“This is the kind of crime that #Ecuador is facing now, a clear message for everyone: Either we act as a … determined state, or the consequences will be very serious,” Carrillo said.

Sandwiched between Colombia and Peru, the world’s two biggest cocaine producers, Ecuador faces a drug-fuelled crime wave that has spawned scenes of horror, including decapitated corpses hanging from bridges.

According to the United Nations, Ecuador accounted for 6.5 percent of the world’s cocaine seizures in 2020.

Tensions between rival drug gangs have reached prisons in Ecuador, where clashes and massacres have claimed at least 400 lives since February 2021.

Last year, the country of 18 million people recorded a homicide rate of 14 per 100,000 people – almost double the previous year, but not among the highest in the world.

Guayaquil, Ecuador’s main port and commercial hub with a population of 2.8 million, is the city with the highest homicide rate – nearly a third of the national total.

President Guillermo Lasso declared a 30-day state of emergency in the country’s second largest city after Sunday’s attack that damaged eight houses and four cars.

Police also found a stash containing drugs, guns, ammunition and a grenade during Wednesday’s arrest, according to Carrillo.

So far this year, 861 people have been killed in the greater Guayaquil area.

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