Second politician from Ecuador assassinated in less than a week


Ecuador has experienced the assassination of a local party leader, making two politicians in a week.

At his residence in the northern Esmeraldas province, Pedro Briones was fatally shot by motorcycle-riding assailants.

Only five days had passed since presidential contender Fernando Villavicencio was shot and killed in Quito.

As local gangs formed partnerships with global crime cartels, the murder rate in Ecuador increased.

The assassinations of leaders have shook the nation ahead of the impromptu presidential elections on August 20.

In Esmeraldas, Mr. Briones was the chairman of the left-leaning Citizen Revolution Party. Party members sent their sympathies to the man’s family.

Luisa González, the party’s presidential candidate, claimed that Ecuador was experiencing “its bloodiest period.”

The Citizen Revolution Party was created by former president Rafael Correa, who wrote: “They killed another of our compatriots in Esmeraldas. “I’ve had enough!”

Although the police have not yet made an official statement regarding the slaying, local media outlets claimed that the two shooters left on a motorbike after killing Mr Briones in San Mateo, a city south of Esmeraldas.

What the motivation might have been is still a mystery.

One of the worst affected provinces by the nationwide wave of violence is Esmeraldas, which shares a border with Colombia.

Drug traffickers who transport cocaine from Colombia via Ecuador to the US and Europe find the region attractive due to its porous border with Colombia and its location on the Pacific coast.

However, Esmeraldas has not been the only victim of the violence. The mayor of the port city of Manta in the province of Manab was assassinated last month while visiting a public works project.

Fernando Villavicencio, an outspoken journalist who exposed corruption scandals and criticised connections between organised crime and public authorities, has been the most well-known casualty to date.

Six males, all citizens of Colombia, have been detained in relation to his murder.

Sunday saw the arrival of FBI officers from the US, who are working with Ecuadorean authorities to look into the death of Fernando Villavicencio.


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