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Ecuador to Destroy Hundreds of Illegal Guns Amid Crackdown

Quito, November 25 (teleSUR-RHC)-- Ecuadorean authorities have announced plans to destroy hundreds of weapons seized during anti-smuggling operations over the past year.

Over 200 illegal firearms and more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition will be destroyed by the military by the end of the month, state media has reported.

More than 1,000 weapon accessories will also be destroyed, according to the military.  The arms are currently bound for Ecuador's largest city, Guayaquil, after being seized on Ecuador's border with Colombia over the past 12 months.

Firearms are heavily restricted in Ecuador, though criminal groups often try to smuggle weapons into the country from neighboring Colombia, where various paramilitary groups operate.

In January, Ecuadorean police and the military launched a new crackdown on arms smuggling and regulation of weapons ownership.

Despite illegal firearms posing a major security concern for much of Latin America, Ecuador's gun violence has been decreasing in recent years.

In Ecuador, more than 70 percent of homicides and assassinations are committed with firearms. Twenty-four of every 100,000 inhabitants were victims of firearms in 2007.

Authorities hope to reduce this number through greater regulation and zero tolerance policies.
Edited by Ivan Martínez
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