Ecuador police rescue 49 kidnapping victims from crime gang

Police in Ecuador say 49 kidnapping victims have been rescued from a crime gang in the south of the country.

Two suspected kidnappers were arrested during the raid in a mining region in Azuay province.

Police said the Los Lobos (The Wolves) crime gang was behind the kidnappings.

An earlier statement from the armed forces said 46 people were rescued and five were found killed - four of them dismembered.

"Forty-nine citizens who were victims of kidnapping in mining areas were released and two people linked to this crime were arrested," Ecuador's police said in a statement.

Dynamite, weapons and ammunition were also seized during the raid.

More than 20 people opened fire on soldiers during the rescue operation, Ecuador's army said.

No one had been hurt, it added.

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Ecuador has faced a spate of violent crime.

President Daniel Noboa has declared states of emergency several times - under which military forces patrolled the streets and jails.

He also designated 22 crime gangs as terrorist groups.