Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, December 7, 2021

World

Ecuador’s President Lasso appoints new chief of the armed forces

By Alexandra Valencia

QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso has appointed a new head of the joint command of the armed forces, after the former chief resigned following a prison riot that left dozens of inmates dead.

The changes to Ecuador’s military command follow recent outbreaks of violence in the Penitenciaria del Litoral prison, located in the southern city of Guayaquil.

Fighting between criminal groups within the prison broke out over the weekend, resulting in 68 prisoners killed and 25 injured, according to the government.

Lasso accepted the resignation of vice admiral Jorge Cabrera as chief of Ecuador’s joint command of the armed forces and appointed general Orlando Fabian Fuel to replace him, the president’s communications office said in a statement issued late on Sunday.

He also appointed Luis Burbano as the new commander of Ecuador’s army while placing Fausto Cobo, head of the country’s intelligence services, in charge of the SNAI prison authority.

The government declared a 60-day state of emergency in Ecuador’s prisons in September to free up funds to address violence in the country’s penitentiaries and allow military assistance in jails.

Lasso has called on the constitutional court to let the military enter prisons, instead of providing only outside security. The court has said a solution to the prison crisis will require more than temporary emergency measures.

Authorities attribute the wave of prison violence to competing drug-trafficking gangs which look to establish control of trafficking routes.

Penitenciaria del Litoral is the same prison where 119 inmates were killed at the end of September, during the worst incident of prison violence in the country’s recent history.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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