(Quito) Ecuador declared a state of emergency on Saturday in the country’s main port and in two other provinces affected by drug trafficking and crime.

The area affected by the state of emergency includes the city of Guayaquil and the two outlying localities of Duran and Samborondon as well as the western provinces of Santa Elena and Los Rios, President Guillermo Lasso announced in a speech broadcast on the radio. and on television.

The president did not specify the duration of the state of emergency, which will take effect on Sunday and will include a curfew between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

The constitution allows the president to declare a state of emergency and call in the army when the country is faced with serious internal unrest.

“We have a common enemy: delinquency, drug trafficking and organized crime,” said President Lasso.

A state of emergency has already been declared in Guayaquil three times in 2022.

The coastal province of Esmeraldas (northwest), which borders Colombia and is one of the areas most affected by crime and drug trafficking, has also been under a 60-day state of emergency since early March.

Located between Colombia and Peru – the world’s top cocaine producers – Ecuador seized an annual record 210 tonnes of drugs in 2021, mostly cocaine, bound for European ports.

In 2022, seizures exceeded 200 tons of drugs and the government declared war on traffickers, who fiercely defend the drug routes.

At the same time, the homicide rate nearly doubled. Between 2021 and 2022, it rose from 14 to 25 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the authorities.