Latest news on violence and internal armed conflict in Ecuador, live: news and more

Security forces stand guard inside Bellavista prison, a day after a deadly riot following a fight between rival gangs Los Lobos and R7 (Photo by Rodrigo Buendia/AFP via Getty Images)

Ecuador is experiencing a wave of violence and this January 9 new incidents were seen in different parts of the country, including the appearance of a group of hooded and armed men on a live television broadcast. Criminal gangs have launched a series of actions and confrontations that led President Daniel Noboa to declare that the country was in an “internal armed conflict” and to call on Ecuador’s armed forces to “neutralize” groups identified as terrorists. Had to order a military operation.

In addition to the violent attacks recorded, several high-profile criminal prison escapes were recorded this Tuesday. One of them is Fabricio Colón Pico, alias “Capitan Pico” and alleged leader of the Los Lobos gang, who escaped from Riobamba prison, according to the city’s mayor, John Vinueza.

A few days earlier, the man was publicly identified by Ecuadorian prosecutor Diana Salazar, suspected of taking part in an alleged plan to take his life and that of his family. On Wednesday afternoon, the Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office anxious Impeachment hearing for “Capitan Pico”.

Colon Pico was arrested on Friday, January 5 in Quito with a preventive detention order that he was serving a sentence in the prison of the city of Riobamba for his alleged participation in the crime of kidnapping, as confirmed by the Prosecutor’s Office . Along with Colon Pico, another 38 prisoners escaped, 12 of whom have been recaptured, the National Service for Comprehensive Attention to Adult Persons Deprived of Liberty (SNAI) told CNN.

According to police, Colon faces approximately 21 proceedings for various crimes, including: organized crime, illegal association, possession of unauthorized firearms, qualified robbery, production of scheduled substances under control, racketeering and arms trafficking. and organization or financing of trafficking. Authorities are offering a reward for information leading to his whereabouts.

Who are Los Lobos, the criminal gang of “Capitan Pico”?

According to Insight Crime, Los Lobos, a gang that emerged as a dissident from Los Choneros, has become the second most important criminal organization in Ecuador with approximately 8,000 members. Since 2021, he has reportedly carried out several violent incidents within Ecuadorian prisons and played a leading role in worsening the security situation in Ecuador.

According to this source, the main characteristic of Los Lobos is that as a result of the weakening of the Los Choneros gang, they are in charge of a federation of smaller gangs including the Tigueronas and the Chone Killers.

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