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With 192 deaths of minors caused by violence and disputes between criminal gangs, Ecuador more than doubled the figure recorded in 2021.
According to official data, most of the deaths occurred during actions imposed by criminal gangs associated with drug trafficking. The Secretary of Public Security, Diego Ordonez, said last week that about 200 tons of drugs were seized in the country in 2022.
Statistics from the National Police showed that in 2021, a total of 92 children and adolescents died in violent scenarios, while the figure recorded in 2020 was 57.
In 2022, the number of minors who died due to violence in the South American country more than doubled the previous year's figure, with 192 deaths. Most of them were between 12 and 18 years old.
According to a study on violence carried out by the charity Red del Noroeste, the recruitment of minors by delinquency has been going on for over a decade. Today, some areas of Guayaquil are considered the most violent in the country.
Carolina Portaluppi, a member of the organization, said that communities in the northwest of Guayaquil are subjected to structural violence as a result of conflicts over land, housing or lack of basic public services.
A solution to this situation requires the intervention of the State, local authorities, the private sector, civil society and the communities in these neighborhoods to open up spaces for their recovery, said the official.
The news portal Primicias reported that in 2022 a total of 195 188 students dropped out of the school system, noting that they are usually recruited by gangs between 16 and 17 years old.
The country's homicide rate was the highest in its history in 2022, with more than 25 violent deaths per 100 000 inhabitants, and a total of 4 539 victims of hired killings, murders, femicides and robberies, as of December 28, according to a police report.