Ecuador emergency measure in provinces

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Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso has declared a state of emergency in three provinces of the country because of increasing violence.

The measure has been in effect since Saturday for the provinces of Guayas, Manabi and Esmeraldas, Lasso wrote on Twitter in the early hours of Saturday.

He announced a "comprehensive co-ordinated action" between the police and the armed forces with a total of 9000 security personnel in the three provinces.

He also said a curfew from 11pm to 5am would be in place for 60 days in some municipalities in the coastal region.

"The announcement comes at a difficult moment for these provinces, especially Guayas," wrote the Ecuadorian newspaper El Universo.

There, it said, there had been explosions outside the prison and bomb threats in judicial buildings in recent days.

In a prison near the port city of Guayaquil, 118 people were killed in bloody gang fights in September.

It was the worst massacre in Ecuador's penal system to date.

At the time, Lasso imposed a state of emergency on the penal system throughout the country for 60 days.

The prisons in Ecuador, as elsewhere in Latin America, are overcrowded.

Many prisons are controlled by gangs.

Many imprisoned bosses control the business of their criminal organisations from prison.

"The enemy is the drug trade," said the governor of Guayas province, Pablo Arosemena.

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