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Attempted assassination part of unrest, claims Correa

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa claimed that a police mutiny earlier this week was an attempted coup with plans to assassinate him and other members of the government, media reports said on Saturday.

world Updated: Oct 03, 2010 11:48 IST

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa claimed that a police mutiny earlier this week was an attempted coup with plans to assassinate him and other members of the government, media reports said on Saturday.

The death toll in the unrest rose to eight with 278 injured, officials said.

Correa told foreign ministers from the South American diplomatic group Unasur who had travelled to Ecuador that the unrest included "conspirators, that could not beat us at the ballot boxes and wanted to kill us". He did not name names of those he held responsible, but three police officers have been arrested.

The goal of the uprising was a "civil war with unknown consequences", he said.

The situation had returned to normal in Ecuador and police officers were back on the streets across the country Friday.

The Ecuadorian government insists that the mutiny was part of a broader coup attempt, which eventually failed, while the insurgents have denied such claims, saying they were only protesting a new law changing their employment benefits.

For hours, Correa was detained against his will at the Police Hospital in Quito, surrounded by 30,000 police officers and some rank-and-file soldiers who had joined the mutiny that also saw a takeover of the main police barracks and the runway at Quito's international airport.

Late on Thursday, the military managed to free Correa, who was unharmed despite a shootout which claimed at least two lives.

In a televised statement after his release, Correa had announced a purge of the country's police forces.