Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Ecuadorian city councilor murdered; They attribute it to organized crime gangs

Unidentified men murdered a local council member in the Ecuadorian city of Durán amid escalating violence attributed to organized crime gangs, authorities reported.

Bolívar Vera, 42, was kidnapped on Wednesday afternoon and his body was found tied up on a road in rural Salitre, they said.

Durán is considered by police to be Ecuador’s third most violent city after Guayaquil and Esmeraldas in the north, where gangs funded by cartels from Mexico and Colombia operate with relative impunity and fight for control of drug trafficking routes, authorities said.

Shortly after taking office in mid-May, the mayor of Durán, Luis Chonillo, suffered an attack with large-caliber weapons from which he was miraculously saved. He remained abroad for a while, but since his return he has been guarded by a heavy police presence.

Vera is the second municipal official murdered. On August 3, the municipality’s land director, Miguel Santos Burgos, was shot dead in a taxi. The taxi driver and a security guard who was riding a motorcycle were also killed.

About four years ago, Ecuador fell into a spiral of violence caused by criminal organizations. Initially they carried out massacres in prisons, but the violence quickly spread to the streets, where assassinations, extortions, kidnappings and robberies are commonplace.

On June 23, Agustín Intriago, mayor of Manta, the country’s third largest city, was assassinated during a construction inspection. But the crime with the greatest impact was that of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, who was shot dead by an armed group on August 9 as he left a political rally in northern Quito.

According to official data, Ecuador ended 2022 with the highest murder rate in its history: 26 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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