The Intervention and Rescue Group (GIR) accounted for 44 explosive device alerts. The real ones were in San Lorenzo, Cotacachi and Archidona.
Quito registers more cases of this type. Pedro Alvarado, a student at the Escuela Politécnica Nacional (EPN), left the classroom just like his classmates, because the academic authorities received a bomb threat.
Administrative staff, teachers and students of the EPN faculties were evacuated and concentrated in the surroundings of the higher education establishment, located in the center of Quito.
In less than 15 minutes an anti-explosive squad from the Intervention and Rescue Group (GIR) of the National Police arrived at the Polytechnic. The specialized agents, with their dogs, reviewed classrooms, laboratories, offices, bathrooms and other facilities, to rule out the threat. In the end it was a false alarm. In the first four months of this year the capital has been the target of false bomb threats.
According to the GIR, 18 alerts of this type were recorded. Due to this situation, government institutions such as the Assembly, Chancellery, Ministry of the Interior and Health Centers passed; also educational facilities, judicial complexes and the Quitumbe bus terminal.
Guayaquil is another metropolis chosen by unscrupulous people who attempt against the tranquility of citizenship. The last false warning was raised in the Guayaquil school, which accounted for 15.
44 threats, nine threats were true, seven of them in San Lorenzo canton, Esmeraldas province, the other two were in the municipality of Cotacachi, Imbabura and Napo; 35 were false, in total 44 bomb alerts were registered in the country from January to April 23, 2018.
When a bomb alert is presented, the ECU-911 communicates it to the police headquarters so that the anti-explosive team immediately the elite unit moves to the place where the threat is registered, explained Captain Christian Suarez, GIR’s operational officer.
Two technicians and two guides with their respective specialized dogs perform the verification, which includes taking X-rays, photographs and viewing the suspicious package, he said. The specialists intervene and neutralize the device with different techniques, including a counter-charge, the source of power is attacked, and the packages are opened or deactivated.
Once they complete the process, they collect the evidence and all kinds of evidence to determine what material was used and a complete post-explosion analysis is carried out. He mentioned that explosives can be found in different containers, such as boxes, radios, etc. But, in some situations it is determined that it was a false alarm, notified by a person with the aim of interrupting the work or tasks.
Those motivations can be economic, religious and political or for their own benefit, he said. According to Suarez, the threats in educational institutions are to leave early or not to give exams. But in government buildings they are generated to cause alarm and shock. Although the officer does not know the value of the mobilization of an anti-explosive equipment of the GIR to a false alarm, he said that only the suit costs $ 90,000.
But, he said that Article 396 of the Comprehensive Criminal Code (COIP) sanctions with “custodial sentence of 15 to 30 days to the person who improperly uses the unique number of emergency care to give a false emergency warning and that implies displacement, mobilization or unnecessary activation of resources of emergency institutions “.
The ex officio investigations
The Office of the Prosecutor initiated ex officio the investigation of the false bomb threats registered in the country. Fabián Salazar, provincial prosecutor of Pichincha, delegated a prosecutor to carry out an investigation in the case of threats.
He indicated that bomb alerts are investigated because it is a terrorist act. And the crimes in which the alleged perpetrators would incur would be social alarm and terrorism. According to Article 366 of the COIP, “the person who individually maintains in a state of terror the population or a sector of it, through acts that endanger the life, physical integrity or freedom of the people or endanger the buildings, means of communication, transportation, using means capable of causing havoc, will be sanctioned with imprisonment from 10 to 13 years “.
For security expert Ricardo Camacho, false bomb alerts respond to the context of the northern border. He pointed out that the calls made by people in order to annoy the citizenship and those that are related to citizens belonging to criminal gangs should be analyzed. He suggested that the State change the protocols of action with respect to bombs. This affects the development of the State. (I)