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Ecuadorian president decrees state of emergency amid security crisis

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Quito: Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa decreed on Monday a state of emergency, imposing a curfew for 60 days throughout the country, including in prisons, due to the “serious internal commotion” in several prisons.

The president said the measure is based on the “factual situation” of violence and criminality which is affecting the country, including the prison system, where serious disruptions of the order are occurring.

The decree came after reports on Sunday of the alleged escape of Jose Adolfo Macias Villamar, alias “Fito,” the country’s main drug trafficker and leader of the organized crime group “Los Choneros,” from the Penitenciaria del Litoral in Guayaquil, capital of Guayas province.

Noboa, who assumed power on Nov. 23, said that he had given clear instructions to military and police commanders to regain control of prisons, which had been “lost in recent years.”

“Narcoterrorist groups seek to intimidate us and believe that we will yield to their demands,” he said, pledging that “we will not negotiate with terrorists, nor will we rest until we restore peace to all Ecuadorians.”

The security crisis in the country is evidence that things must change and that existing laws are not sufficient for Ecuadorians to live in peace, the president added.

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