QUITO, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorian authorities have arrested 2,174 people, 158 of them on "terrorism" charges, over the past nine days amid escalating violence in the country, the National Police said Thursday.
On Jan. 9, President Daniel Noboa declared an "internal armed conflict" in the country and mobilized the army to combat organized crime linked to drug trafficking.
Authorities have since carried out 23,610 operations, including 61 operations "against terrorist groups," the National Police said on social media X, formerly Twitter.
Five members of criminal organizations were killed, it said, adding that authorities seized more than 6 tons of illicit drugs and substantial amounts of firearms, knives, explosives, ammunition and mobile phones.
Police and soldiers also raided two prisons in search of weapons and other banned items smuggled in by inmates with ties to criminal rings.
Prison riots and a breakout led the government to declare a 60-day state of emergency on Jan. 8. More than 100 prison guards and officials who had been taken hostage by rioting inmates were released last week. ■