State of Emergency in Ecuador after Terrorist Attack

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According to local police the explosion was caused by an artifact of great magnitude. (Photo taken from http://www.elciudadano.gob.ec).

The announcement was made by President Lenin Moreno in a post on Twitter Saturday afternoon

Ecuador has declared a limited State of Emergency in San Lorenzo and Eloy Alfaro, two cities in the northern Pacific province of Esmeraldas, after a car bomb caused damage to a local police command center in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The announcement was made by President Lenin Moreno in a post on Twitter Saturday afternoon.

“I’ve declared the State of Emergency in San Lorenzo and Eloy Alfaro to strengthen the security of the citizens and the border, as well as to strengthen the attention of the Health, Inclusion, Risks and Housing Ministries for an integrated solution for the affected,” Moreno wrote.

There were no fatalities, but 14 police officers were injured and 95 percent of the building was damaged, along with neighboring houses, the General Prosecutor’s Office (MP) reported. None of the injured are reported to be in critical condition.

Moreno has blamed local drug cartels for the attack, saying: “It’s a terrorist act linked to drug trafficking and criminal groups that have been defeated by the Ecuadoran State’s security forces.  We won’t allow them intimidate us.”

The agents are seeking to determine if the attack was in retaliation against recent anti-crime operations targeting criminal organizations linked to drug trafficking. San Lorenzo is the third-most violent city in Esmeraldas.

So far, the provincial police have determined the explosion was caused by an “explosive artifact of great magnitude,” which generated a 50-meter blast. A fire was registered in the installation’s dining room, but was quickly quelled by the fire department.

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