'State of armed conflict' declared in Ecuador

Ecuador's President Daniel Noboa on Jan. 8 declared a 60-day state of emergency in the country after the escape of Adolfo Macías Villamar AKA "Fito," leader of Los Choneros narco-gang, from Littoral Penitentiary in Guayaquil. Macías had been serving a 34-year sentence since 2011 for drug trafficking, murder, and organized crime. As news broke of his disappearance, six other correctional facilities across the country exploded into riots. The situation escalated the following day, when hooded gunmen interrupted a live television broadcast in Guayaquil, taking reporters and staff hostage. Noboa responded by declaring a state of "internal armed conflict" in the country, ordering security forces to "neutralize" designated "terrorist organizations" and "non-state actors," including Los Choneros, Los Lobos and Los Tiguerones narco-gangs. (Jurist, CNN, BBC News, NYT, AFP, InfoBae, La República)

Noboa's predecessor Guillermo Lasso similarly declared a state of emergency in response to the ongoing prison cirisis in 2021. But the current situation represents a significant escalation.

Prosecutor probing Guayaquil attack is shot dead

A prosecutor investigating a dramatic attack on the set of a public television station last week was shot to death Jan. 17 in Guayaquil. Prosecutor César Suárez, who had carried out other high-profile investigations, was shot while driving a vehicle. (ABC)

Ecuador reports 43 individuals missing from prison

Ecuador reported Jan. 15 that an operation at Esmeraldas No. 2 Detention Center revealed the escape of 48 individuals, with one fatality and five recaptures, prompting an investigation by the National Service for Comprehensive Attention to Adults Deprived of Liberty and Adolescent Offenders (SNAI). (Jurist)

Arrests in fatal shooting of Ecuador prosecutor

Ecuador authorities arrested two men Jan. 18 in the assassination of prosecutor César Suárez in broad daylight just 24 hours earlier. Speaking at a press conference after the arrests, Police Chief General Víctor Herrera said that police believe the two individuals belong to a "terrorist group" called Los Chone Killers. (Jurist)

Ecuador candidate assassination suspects to go to trial

An Ecuadoran judge determined on Feb. 28 that five suspects accused in the murder of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio will be called to trial. Villavicencio was assassinated in August 2023 while on the campaign trail. (Jurist)

Ecuador president extends state of emergency

The president of Ecuador, Daniel Noboa Azin, issued Executive Decree No. 193, renewing the state of emergency in the country in light of a "serious internal disturbance and internal armed conflict." The decree extends the duration of the state of emergency for another 30 days. (Jurist)

Ecuador's youngest mayor found shot to death

Ecuador's youngest mayor, Brigitte Garcia, and a staffer were found shot dead in a car March 24 National Police say they were investigating the deaths of Garcia, the 27-year-old mayor of San Vicente, and Jairo Loor, her communications director, after the discovery of their bodies in the province of Manabi. (Reuters)