“Internal armed conflict” announced in Ecuador following gang-led riots

Posted on 18 January 2024

On January 8, violence erupted in Ecuador, beginning with riots in at least six prisons where inmates seized control, holding guards captive and many escaping, including leaders of criminal groups. Simultaneously, widespread bombing occurred, forcing people to evacuate and shutting down public services. The following day, masked gunmen hijacked a live television broadcast.
President Daniel Noboa declared “a state of internal armed conflict” in response, coining 22 gangs as “terrorist organisations” and authorising military action against them. A 60-day State of Emergency was announced on January 8, and a strict curfew has been imposed.
2023 had already seen the surge of violence and organised crime in the nation, with the homicide rate increasing from 13.7 per 100,000 in 2021 to 45 per 100,000 this year. UNICEF reports that over 770 child and adolescent homicides occurred. The organisation has expressed grave concern for children in light of this most recent security situation, with 4.3 million lacking education services following the temporary closure of schools.


gang violence urban violence conflict Humanitarian