Published: 09:55, January 11, 2024 | Updated: 09:56, January 11, 2024
President: Ecuador in 'state of war', will not give in to terrorists
By Xinhua

This handout picture released by the Ecuadorian Presidency shows Ecuador's President Daniel Noboa speaking during a radio show in north Quito on Jan 10, 2024. (PHOTO / AFP)

QUITO/LIMA - Ecuador is in a "state of war" with "terrorist" criminal groups linked to drug trafficking, President Daniel Noboa said Wednesday, pledging not to give in to their demands.

"We are practically, yes, in a non-international armed conflict. We are fighting for national peace. We are also fighting against terrorist groups that today number more than 20,000 people," Noboa said in an interview with Radio Canela in Quito.

Ecuador has recently been plunged into violence that appeared to spin out of control Monday and Tuesday when riots broke out at several prisons, explosions went off in a few cities, and armed men broke into a television station amid a live broadcast, leading to 13 arrests, vehicles set on fire and police officers kidnapped.

When they are terrorists and we live in a state of war, other laws apply. International humanitarian law also applies.

Daniel Noboa, Ecuador's President

The government has identified members of 22 criminal organizations as "terrorists" in an executive order issued Tuesday that declares a state of "internal armed conflict", allowing the armed forces to be deployed to combat the gangs.

"When they are terrorists and we live in a state of war, other laws apply. International humanitarian law also applies," said Noboa, a 36-year-old businessman and politician who assumed power less than two months ago, on Nov 23.

The decree "is a message that we are not going to give in, that we are not going to let society die slowly, but that today we are going to fight them, today we are going to provide solutions and soon we are going to bring peace to Ecuadorian families", he added.

ALSO READ: Ecuador declares 'internal armed conflict' as violence escalates

Police present to the press arrested men who the police identify as the previous day's attackers on the TC Television station, at police headquarters in Guayaquil, Ecuador on Jan 10, 2024. (PHOTO / AP)

Also on Wednesday, Victor Torres, interior minister of neighboring country Peru, said the Peruvian government has not considered closing the border with Ecuador, amid the "state of emergency" declared on the binational border.

"We have not talked about closing the borders, but rather about reinforcing them and exercising strict control to monitor people and their identification, so that no criminals enter the country," said the minister in the city of Lima, before heading to the border department of Tumbes.

He emphasized that the surveillance in the locality has been reinforced with the presence of troops from the Directorate of Special Operations (Diroes), while "all necessary actions" are being taken so that "none of these criminals from Ecuador can enter the country."

The declaration aims to reinforce security with the presence of police and military along the entire border with Ecuador, a territory spanning more than 1,500 kilometers, preventing members of organized crime from entering the nation in an attempt to flee Ecuador.

READ MORE: Ecuador declares state of emergency amid security crisis

On Tuesday, the Peruvian Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning the violence in Ecuador and expressed its support for the Ecuador's president as well as the institutional and democratic stability of Ecuador.