In the early hours of Thursday, the people of Esmeraldas City woke up shocked by the explosion of two car bombs and gunshots. This happened despite the fact that this Ecuadorian coastal province is in "State of Emergency" since April 30.
One of the explosions occurred in front of the Luis Vargas Torres School and the other one at the intersection between Malecon avenue and Espejo street. These attacks occurred simultaneously, as reported by outlet El Comercio.
On social networks, citizens posted recordings in which the detonations of firearms are heard in different areas of downtown Esmeraldas.
"Specialized and tactical units are executing control and search operations to locate those responsible," the National Police tweeted in one of its first reactions to the events. Hours later, the police announced the arrest of five people who are allegedly related to the events. During raids on residences, authorities confiscated firearms and ammunition.
The tweet reads, "Woman recorded the exact moment in which several armed groups started shooting in Esmeraldas. Some fired from the roofs of houses in the sector."
One of those citizens is the spokesman for the Guevarista Movement, Ernesto Flores, whom the Prosecutor's Office accuses of "illicit association."
"According to preliminary investigations, this group approached communities in Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, and the Amazon to recruit people irregularly and train them militarily," outlet Pichincha Communications reported based on information available so far.
Nevertheless, it is not clear yet if the outbursts had a political motivation because "according to the police chief, these attacks could be directed at the owners of the vehicles, but the causes motivating the retention of them and the explosion of their cars are yet to be determined," as outlet The Universe reported.