Mayor shot dead in Ecuador, a country engaged in a war against drug trafficking

The mayor of a coastal town Ecuador devastated by the violence of Drug trafficking She was shot dead while the government declared a state of emergency to end violence in the country, police reported this Sunday.

Brigitte García, mayor of the resort town of San Vicente in the province of Manabí (southwest), was murdered along with the municipality’s communications director, Jairo Loor.

In the early hours of the morning, “two people without vital signs were identified in a vehicle who had sustained injuries from a gunshot impact,” the Ecuadorian National Police said on its X account on the social network.

The institution later determined that the shots were fired “not from the outside of the vehicle, but from inside.” The investigators analyze the route of the rented car.

The crime occurred during the state of emergency in force in Ecuador since January, when there was an attack by drug trafficking gangs that left twenty people dead, explosions in the streets and temporary kidnappings of prison officials and gunmen taking over a canal. TV station broadcasting live from the port of Guayaquil.

The wave of violence was triggered after the escape of the leader of the “Los Choneros” gang, Adolfo “Fito” Macías, from Guayaquil prison.

After the escape, President Daniel Noboa declared that the country was in a state of internal armed conflict, labeled some twenty drug trafficking organizations “terrorists” and “belligerents” and deployed the armed forces to subdue them.

Violent weekend.

The government ministry denied the crime. “We confirm that we will not relent in the fight against terrorism, organized crime and political corruption,” the ministry said in a statement.

The government claims its so-called “Phoenix Plan” has reduced violence thanks to the military’s presence in prisons and on the streets.

But this weekend several criminal incidents were reported in the country, which will celebrate the 90th day of the state of emergency next April.

On Saturday, an army patrol in Sucumbíos province (border with Colombia) was ambushed, leaving one soldier dead and three others injured.

In the Andean city of Latacunga (center), police evacuated a stadium hosting a professional soccer championship game due to a bomb threat.

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After checking with the help of a trained dog, the officers found a suitcase in the stadium parking lot that “contained five explosive charges,” which were detonated in a controlled manner, according to the latest police report.

Authorities believe the devices were “homemade,” according to a statement.

The government ministry warned that it would step up security controls following García’s assassination.

Politicians and prosecutors murdered.

Mayor García, 27, was part of the Citizen Revolutionary Movement led by former socialist president Rafael Correa (2007-2017), who also reported the incident.

“If it’s that hard for you, I imagine what your families must be like. I’m at a loss for words,” the former president wrote in X.

Last August, presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was shot dead as he left a meeting with supporters. Shortly before, he had reported threats from the leader of a drug gang.

Months earlier, the mayor of the coastal town of Manta (southwest), Agustín Intriago, had also been shot.

In addition to politicians, prosecutors were also victims of violence. The most recent case was the murder of César Suárez in Guayaquil, who was investigating the wife of “Fito,” the escaped human trafficking boss.

Since January, when the state of emergency was declared, public forces carried out about 165,000 operations, made more than 12,000 arrests, killed 15 people considered “terrorists” and seized about 65 tons of drugs, according to official figures.

Located in the middle of Colombia and Peru, the world’s largest cocaine producers, Ecuador has become a logistics hub for shipping drugs to the United States and Europe.

Ecuadorian criminal gangs linked to Mexican and Colombian cartels are competing to the death for trade routes and power in prisons, where about 460 inmates have died since 2021.

The murder rate also skyrocketed in the country that was once considered an island of peace. Between 2018 and 2023 it rose from 6 to a record 46 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

SPRING: AFP.

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