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Letter bombs with ‘military-type explosive’ devices sent to 5 media outlets in Ecuador, 1 exploded


Journalists from five news outlets in Ecuador received letters containing USB drives containing “military-grade explosives,” authorities said Monday.

One of them, sent to a journalist with private television station Ecuavisa in the port city of Guayaquil, exploded after it was inserted into a computer, Interior Minister Juan Zapata told reporters on Monday.

The journalist, Lenin Artieda, suffered minor injuries. The other four explosives either did not detonate or were never opened, police said.

According to Zapata, the five envelopes contained the same explosive devices and were mailed from Quimsaloma in Los Ríos province.

Two were addressed to the media in the country’s capital, Quito, and three to offices in Guayaquil, the economic center and main port of Ecuador.

The devices contained RDX, a detonating capsule that is activated by electricity, reported TC Television.

The Quito television channel Teleamazonas, one of the main television networks in the country, said that the employees were evacuated around 10:30 a.m. this Monday “due to a suspicious flash drive, similar to the one that detonated (on) the morning in Ecuavisa, in Guayaquil”.

The device had arrived at the reception at the end of last week, in an envelope addressed to Milton Peréz, producer and host of the news program “Las Entrevistas de 24 Horas”.

The envelope, which contained an anonymous message, was recovered and analyzed by bomb squads.

Ecuador’s attorney general’s office confirmed on Monday that it had opened a terrorism investigation.

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The country’s communications secretary said in a statement that the government “categorically rejects” any violent act against journalists and the media.

“Any attempt to intimidate journalism and freedom of expression is a repugnant action that must be punished with all the rigor of justice,” said the secretary.

The Andean country of 17.8 million people has seen a rise in gang-related crime in recent months.

Ecuador is often used as a transit point for cocaine traveling from neighboring countries to Europe and North America. President Guillermo Lasso has said that the increase in violence is due to fights between drug gangs in their quest to assert power and control territory, according to Reuters.

The explosives arrived a few days after a major earthquake left a dozen dead and nearly 500 injured.

On Saturday, a magnitude 6.8 quake, centered about 50 miles south of Guayaquil, killed at least 15 people, authorities said.

with cable news services

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