Ecuador president decrees state of emergency in five provinces

Ecuador holds referendum on security measures to fight violence

By Alexandra Valencia

QUITO (Reuters) -Ecuadorean President Daniel Noboa on Tuesday decreed a state of emergency in five coastal provinces because of "internal armed conflict".

The measure marks the second security-based emergency declaration by Noboa, who took office in November on promises to turn around a deteriorating security situation that has led to a spike in violent deaths and other crimes.

The measure for the provinces of El Oro, Guayas, Los Rios, Manabi and Santa Elena will last 60 days, the decree said.

The police and armed forces will be deployed in the provinces because of the "necessity of executing tactical combat operations against organized armed groups," the document added.

The government blames the violence - including the dramatic invasion of a television station and mass hostage-taking of prion guards in January - on drug trafficking gangs.

(Reporting by Alexandra ValenciaWriting by Julia Symmes Cobb)