68 Gang Members Arrested In Ecuador After Attempted Hospital Takeover.

Photo: Ecuador National Police Force. 68 men were arrested and placed on the ground in their underpants.
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Ecuadorean security forces have arrested 68 gang members after they stormed a hospital in the town of Yaguachi, in Guayas province near the major port city of Guayaquil.

Officials said the men tried to take over the facility, at which a member of their gang was receiving treatment for gunshot wounds.

Police said the intruders’ aim was to guard the patient from potential attacks from rivals.

There have been previous incidents in which gang members have been targeted while in hospital.

In 2022, seven gunmen were arrested when they stormed a hospital in the town of Chone in search of a rival gang member who was in intensive care.

During that incident, nurses and hospital staff were taken hostage as the men exchanged fire with police.

It is not yet clear to reporters which gang was behind Sunday’s storming of the Yaguachi hospital, nor who the injured man was they were trying to guard.

Police said he had arrived at the hospital in the early hours of Sunday with gunshot wounds. He has since died of those wounds, they said.

After securing the hospital, the security forces also raided a nearby “rehabilitation centre”.

Drug rehabilitation centres are often used as a front by gangs. Officials said this one was used as command centre for their illegal operations, as well as a brothel.

The raid comes amid a state of emergency declared by President Daniel Noboa in response to a surge in gang violence.

More than 2,700 suspects have been arrested since Mr Noboa declared war on the gangs on 9 January, saying that there was an “armed internal conflict” between the criminal groups and security forces.

The president took the unprecedented step as gunmen took journalists and staff at a TV station hostage during a live broadcast.
Source: BBC News.
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