Ecuadorian Interior Minister Juan Zapata said that at least 28 people have been arrested after a series of attacks rocked the two coastal provinces of Guayas and Esmeraldas earlier this week, which left five policemen dead.
The arrests were made in the last few hours in raids conducted by special groups of the police and the armed forces, Xinhua news agency quoted the Minister as saying at a press conference here on Wednesday.
Zapata said that the special groups also seized eight firearms, 227 ammunition, three rifles, three pistols, 60 detonating capsules and eight sticks of dynamite.
Also seized in the operations were 600 packets of controlled substances, 13 cell phones, a motorcycle, a vehicle and three police uniforms.
In addition, two persons were arrested with a truck which carried 16,416 explosives, 1,200 dynamite and 150,000 detonating capsules from a factory in Peru, according to the interior minister.
A state of emergency declared by President Guillermo Lasso on Tuesday night would last 45 days in Guayas and Esmeraldas.
Lasso described the attacks as acts of sabotage and terrorism, saying that it was a declaration of open war against the rule of law, the government and citizens.
The President vowed he is willing to act harshly within the framework of the law.
Since Tuesday night, Lasso has been leading a Unified Command Post that was activated in Guayaquil, provincial capital of Guayas, to take actions against drug mafias which are blamed for the deteriorating security situation in Ecuador’s coastal region.
The President flew to Guayaquil to supervise the joint operations launched to protect the population by responding forcefully to drug criminal organisations.