Thousands of police and troops will be deployed in the state of emergency, the second emergency the president has imposed to curb drug-related violence.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso has imposed a state of emergency in three provinces, blaming drug-related violence.

“I am [coastal] The provinces of Guayas, Manabi and Esmeraldas, effective from midnight tonight,” he said in remarks broadcast by state media on Friday.

This is the second time Lasso has used emergency powers to deal with a surge in violence since late last year. His administration has accused drug gangs of using the country as a transit point for drug exports to the United States and Europe, causing violence.

During the two-month state of emergency, some 9,000 police and soldiers will be deployed to patrol the three provinces, and will be deployed to patrol the three provinces between 11pm and 5am local time (04:00-10:00 GMT). A curfew was imposed in certain areas, including Duran, which is located near the port of Guayaquil.

Drug smuggling in Ecuador has led to a surge in crime, with 1,255 people killed since the start of the year, according to official figures.

It has also created a battleground inside an Ecuadorian prison, where thousands of prisoners are linked to powerful Mexican drug cartels. Some 350 people have been killed in prison massacres since February 2021.

Russo had previously declared a state of emergency last October, but the move was criticized by the Constitutional Court, which halved the state of emergency to 30 days and said the military should only support police operations.