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Montevideo, June 16th 2024 - 09:55 UTC



Neverending Ecuador's violence leaves one prosecutor killed, one former mayor kidnapped

Saturday, October 7th 2023 - 09:26 UTC
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Mendieta's family asked for the case to be kept confidential out of fear for her life Mendieta's family asked for the case to be kept confidential out of fear for her life

The latest episode of Ecuador's seemingly endless violence consisted of the assassination of Babahoyo Prosecutor Genaro R. and the kidnapping of former Durán Mayor Mariana Mendieta de Narváez, in addition to the death of six other prison inmates just over a week before the presidential elections.

Prosecutor Genaro R. was killed while driving his vehicle in the Alfredo Baquerizo Moreno canton in the province of Guayas, one of the most affected by violence associated with drug trafficking, according to a statement from the Public Prosecutor's Office.

The Social Christian Mendieta, 67, is also the mother of fellow former mayor Dalton Narváez. Her whereabouts are unknown, according to Police Chief Fausto Salinas, after being abducted while she was at a construction site. The family asked for the case to be kept confidential out of fear for the life of the woman, who between 2000 and 2008 was mayor of Duran, a canton in the province of Guayas currently under a state of emergency due to criminal violence.

Current Durán Mayor Luis Chonillo, who is working underground after having suffered an attack, asked the government “to spare no effort and act as quickly as possible”, after which the National Police raided the homes of the alleged perpetrators.

In a separate case, a Police officer who had been kidnapped in Quevedo, province of Los Ríos, was released after an operation in which four people were arrested. Interior Minister Juan Zapata said the detainees had weapons and telephones involved in other crimes and are presumed to be members of the Los Lobos criminal organization. The Los Choneros and Los Lobos gangs operate in this territory and are fighting for control of micro-trafficking and territory for the deployment of their criminal activities.

This upsurge in violence occurred nine days before the runoff pitting Correist candidate Luisa Gonzalez against conservative businessman Daniel Noboa, who qualified for the decisive round after candidate Fernando Villavicencio was murdered days before the elections during a campaign event.

Homicide figures have skyrocketed and so far this year the number of murders for the whole of 2022 is already on the verge. The crisis, which also affects health, education, and employment and hits the neediest sectors, rural populations, and native peoples, has also generated a strong disbelief in the political class.

In this scenario, six inmates were killed in new clashes between gangs on Friday at the Penitenciaría del Litoral, Ecuador's largest prison, in the southwestern city of Guayaquil, said the Prisons Bureau known as National Service of Integral Attention to Adults Deprived of Liberty (SNAI). The disturbances were recorded at approximately 16:00 local time inside ward 7 of the prison, the penitentiary agency said in a statement.

“A team of Criminalistics with the support of the Armed Forces and the National Police has entered to carry out the legal process corresponding to the removal of the bodies and the identification of their identity,” the statement pointed out.

Rival gangs linked to drug trafficking are also fighting for power within detention facilities. On July 25, the most serious massacre occurred in that prison, leaving 31 inmates dead, which led the government to decree a state of emergency for 60 days in all the country's prisons; a measure that was renewed on Sept. 26.

The last raid on the Litoral Penitentiary took place on September 30 with the participation of 800 military and police officers. Clashes in Ecuadorian prisons have intensified since February 2021 and have so far left more than 400 inmates killed.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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