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Ecuador to deploy urban troops

Soldiers of the Ecuadorian Army soon fighting against urban crime.

The Armed Forces of Ecuador are forming a special brigade to combat urban crime, according General Ernesto Gonzalez, chief of that country’s Joint Command.

Gonzalez said that training is now underway for the troops, who will support the police but carry only short-barrel weapons.  “It’s not productive to use rifles on urban patrol”, he explained.

In 2012 Gonzalez expects to have 3,000 men equipped and trained to confront emerging threats like crimes associated with narco-trafficking.  “We’ve already trained 1,500 officers and soldiers to support anti-delinquent operations”, he said.

In November of 2010 Ecuador’s Socialist president Rafael Correa deployed the military to support the police in the fight against arms trafficking and organized crime.  One year earlier, he also deployed troops in the streets for a three-month state of emergency in the cities of Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca.  At the time the government claimed to have disbanded some 30 criminal groups, results which were disputed by the opposition.

Gonzalez said the Ecuadoran Legislative Assembly is reforming public security law to authorize brigade operations, on the constitutional grounds that “the armed forces and police are institutions to protect and guarantee the rights and liberty of citizens”.