Candidate in Ecuador’s presidential election Fernando Villavicencio shot dead.

Candidate in Ecuador's presidential election Fernando Villavicencio shot dead.

At a campaign gathering, a presidential candidate in Ecuador’s upcoming election who ran on a platform against gang violence and corrupt government officials was killed by gunfire.

 

On Wednesday, a member of the country’s national parliament named Fernando Villavicencio was assaulted as he was leaving the event in the nation’s capital city of Quito.

 

He is one of the few candidates in Ecuador who has made allegations about connections between organized crime and government officials.

 

Los Lobos, often known as “The Wolves,” is the name of the criminal organization that has taken responsibility.

 

In Ecuador, Los Lobos is the second-largest gang, with over 8,000 members, many of whom are now doing time in prison.

 

The group has been implicated in a series of recent violent battles within the jail, confrontations which have resulted in the gruesome deaths of dozens of other prisoners.

 

Los Lobos is thought to have connections to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), which is located in Mexico and for which it is responsible for the trafficking of cocaine. Los Lobos is a group that broke away from the Los Choneros gang.

 

The history of prison gangs and their role in the terrorization of Ecuador

Los Choneros, who had threatened Mr. Villavicencio the previous week, was at first suspected of carrying out the murder; however, Los Lobos later claimed responsibility for the murder in a video in which masked gang members flashed gang signals and brandished their guns.

 

Crime in Ecuador has skyrocketed in recent years, spurred by the expanding presence of Colombian and Mexican drug cartels, who have penetrated local criminal groups. Historically, Ecuador has been a reasonably peaceful and stable nation in Latin America, but in recent years, crime has skyrocketed.

 

The killing took place less than two weeks before the presidential elections, in which the problem of insecurity is the primary concern.

 

line Ecuador: An overview of the country

Where can one find Ecuador?

 

Equatorial Guinea is the least populous of the Andean countries in South America and occupies the equatorial region between Colombia and Peru. Its name derives from its location on the equator.

 

What prompted the shooting of Mr. Villavicencio?

 

He was one of eight candidates who were competing for the first round of the election with an emphasis on combating corruption, and the head of a gang with ties to drug trafficking had threatened both him and his team. He was one of the candidates who was running for the election.

 

What comes next?

 

Once a reasonably tranquil country, Ecuador has been wrecked by the entry of international drug gangs benefitting from a surge in cocaine trafficking. This problem is only going to become more important in the course of the campaign for the presidency of Ecuador, which is now underway.

 

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Because Ecuador has a robust infrastructure and a number of significant ports, drug traffickers are able to exploit this country to transport cocaine from adjacent Colombia and Peru into the United States and Europe.

 

They have made threats and targeted everyone they believe may come their way.

 

A sitting congressman and former journalist named Fernando Villavicencio had criticized what he referred to be the lax attitude to the gangs, claiming that if he were to come to power, there would be a crackdown on the issue.

 

Mr. Villavicencio, who was married and had five children, was one of eight candidates in the first round of the election. Despite the fact that he was not the leader and was polling in the middle of the pack, he was one of the candidates who advanced to the second round.

 

He is not the first politician to fall victim to an attempt on their life. A contender for mayor in the city of Puerto López was shot down in February, while the incumbent mayor of the city of Manta was assassinated by gunfire only a few weeks ago.

 

However, the shooting of a presidential contender at a public event in the nation’s capital is the most audacious act yet and a terrible testament to the power of the gangs in the country.

 

At around 18:20 (00:20 GMT) local time, Mr. Villavicencio was reportedly assaulted as he was leaving a campaign event, according to witnesses.

 

The gathering took place in a structure that had once functioned as a school in Quito’s central business area.

 

 

As the man, now 59 years old, was getting into a vehicle outside the building where, only a few minutes before, he had been meeting with voters, there was a volley of gunshots heard.

 

 

 

The event that caused Mr. Villavicencio’s death was reported by Mr. Villavicencio’s uncle, Galo Valencia. He said, “We were only a few yards away from the school when we were struck by a storm of roughly 40 gunshots.”

 

 

 

According to Mr. Valencia, his nephew had sustained three gunshot wounds to the head.

 

 

 

Another witness, named Carlos Figueroa, said that “the shootings began 30 seconds after he [Fernando Villavicencio] went via the main entrance.”

 

 

 

A video shot from inside the structure shows frantic fans scrambling for shelter. According to the prosecution, nine additional individuals were hurt as a result of the pandemonium, which included a candidate for the assembly of the nation as well as two police officers.

 

 

 

The country’s attorney general said on social media that the suspect passed away as a result of the injuries he sustained after being wounded during an exchange of gunfire with security personnel. After conducting searches in Quito, the police have, according to these sources, apprehended six individuals in connection with the assassination.

 

 

 

The current President, Guillermo Lasso, has sworn that the “crime will not go unpunished” and has also proclaimed a state of emergency.

 

 

 

Mr. Lasso, who will not be on the ballot, said that he was “outraged and disturbed” by the death, and he added that he believed that “organised crime has gone a long way, but the entire weight of the law is going to fall on them.”

 

 

 

Luisa González, the candidate who is now leading in the polls, expressed her “solidarity” with Mr. Villavicencio’s family and said that “this heinous crime will not go unpunished.”

 

 

 

Otto Sonnenholzner, a former vice president who ran against Mr. Villavicencio for the same office, expressed his “deepest sympathies and deep sympathy” to the family of Mr. Villavicencio. He concluded his letter by wishing that “May God maintain him in his splendour.” “The situation in our nation is completely out of control.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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