Ecuador's so-called internal armed conflict added a victim to its list of fatalities late Wednesday when 29-year-old Councilwoman Diana Carnero from the coastal municipality of Naranjal was shot dead in what is believed to be a murder-for-hire case.
As per President Daniel Noboa's latest decisions, the Armed Forces have been empowered to assist law enforcement agencies in controlling the cities where on some occasions drug-trafficking gangs reign supreme.
Carnero was gunned down in the middle of a street in the Corona 2 sector of Naranjal, a municipality in the coastal province of Guayas, whose capital is Guayaquil. According to Vistazo magazine, the councilwoman, from the Citizen Revolution movement, led by former president Rafael Correa (2007-2017), died in a health center in Naranjal, where she was rushed after the attack.
Former Citizen Revolution presidential candidate Luisa González wrote on X that I just found out that today they murdered our colleague Diana Carnero, councilwoman of Naranjal. A heartfelt embrace to her family.
Human rights activist Jhajaira Urresta expressed her deep sorrow for Carnero's death and said that the State must answer for the security of all.
For these crimes, the authorities should be outraged and provide real protection, she added.
Cantero thus joined the list of prosecutors, judges, and politicians to be murdered, such as Manta Mayor Agustin Intriago, or presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio.
President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency in early January and decreed a situation of internal armed conflict in an attempt to curb a nationwide spiral of violence in prisons and on the streets, attributed to organized crime groups. In declaring the internal armed conflict, the government identified at least 22 transnational organized crime groups and classified them as terrorist organizations and belligerent non-state actors.
Violence skyrocketed after Noboa announced his decision to launch his Phoenix Plan to regain control at prisons, where over 450 inmates were killed since 2020. Ecuador has become one of the most violent countries, with 45 intentional homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2023.