In Ecuador, marked by a new wave of violence, at least eight people killed

At least eight people were killed, and eight others injured, on Saturday March 30 in Ecuador, during an armed attack in Guayaquil (South-West), police announced

In Ecuador, marked by a new wave of violence, at least eight people killed

At least eight people were killed, and eight others injured, on Saturday March 30 in Ecuador, during an armed attack in Guayaquil (South-West), police announced. This is the third killing in two days in this country, once a haven of peace.

“Several armed individuals in a vehicle” opened fire on a group of people “in a neighborhood in the south of the city around 6:55 p.m.” (local time; 12:55 a.m. Paris time), police said. in a press release. “Two people died instantly,” and the others died from their injuries, police said, adding that the eight injured people were taken into custody.

Five Ecuadorian tourists were kidnapped and killed on Friday on Ayampe beach, also in southwest Ecuador, after being mistaken for rivals of the attackers. The same day, four people, including a military officer, were killed in Manta, in the province of Manabi (South-West).

A week of murders

On Wednesday, a mutiny in a prison in Guayaquil left three people dead and six injured. It was from this same prison that Adolfo “Fito” Macias, leader of the Los Choneros criminal gang, one of the main ones in the country, escaped last January.

Last weekend, the mayor of San Vicente, in the same province, was shot and killed, a new case of political violence. His death comes after the assassinations of last presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio and Manta mayor Agustin Intriago in 2023.

The head of state, in power since November, called a referendum on April 21 to consult Ecuadorians on the advisability of strengthening measures to combat drug trafficking.

Among the questions asked is the possibility for the military to support the police without resorting to a state of emergency, the extradition of Ecuadorians linked to organized crime, and the increase in sentences for drug traffickers.

Gangs linked to Colombian and Mexican cartels now operate from Ecuadorian prisons. Since 2021, incessant clashes between these criminal groups have left more than 460 detainees dead.

Located between Colombia and Peru, the largest producers of cocaine in the world, Ecuador has in recent years become a logistical hub for the transport of drugs to the United States and Europe.