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The suspect in the assassination of a presidential candidate in Ecuador is Colombian

The seventh suspect, who died of wounds in a shootout with police on Thursday, was also Colombian. and was arrested in July for gun possession. Ecuadorian authorities have previously mentioned that several men participated in the murder of Villavicencio, which also resulted in at least nine injuries, including three policemen.

The six arrested were identified as Andres M., Jose N., Eddy G., Camilo R., Jules C. and John Rodríguez, Interior Minister Juan Zapata revealed in a press conference.

According to Zapata, a police investigation is underway into the incident, which he classified as an “abominable event”.

“The agents are working to find out the reason for the crime and its authors”, added the minister.

During the police raid that resulted in the arrest of six Colombians, agents found in the group’s possession a rifle, a machine gun, four pistols, three grenades, four boxes of ammunition, two motorcycles and a car that was reported stolen.

The Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs insists that it is waiting for official information about what happened. It is not the preceding Colombian citizens have been involved in similar situations in other countries.

Ecuadorian authorities have also not confirmed whether those responsible belong to one of the organized crime gangs operating in Ecuador.

Fernando Villavicencio, a vocal critic of organized crime, was one of the few Ecuadorian presidential candidates to speak out about the links between corruption and government officials.

Villavicencio, a member of the National Assembly, previously received threats from a group calling itself Los Choneros last month and has since had police protection.The participation of Colombian citizens in Villavicencio’s death is reminiscent of the 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, who was killed in his home by a mob that included 26 Colombians and two Haitian-Americans.

After the candidate’s assassination, a video surfaced on social media where heavily armed men wearing hoods claimed responsibility for the crime. The men claimed to be part of Los Lobos, rivals of Los Choneros.

nonetheless, hours later, another video appeared on the Internet, in which another group of men – this time without masks – claimed to be members of Los Lobos and denied any role in the murder, claiming that the other video was an attempt by rivals. to frame them for the murder.

O The President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, confirmed, through social networks, the presence of the FBI in his countryHe adds that he asks the United States for the support of this federal investigative agency to clarify this crime.

The FBI’s involvement in the assassination investigation is part of the close relationship the United States and Ecuador have built over the past two years, especially since Lasso took power, and cooperation on a range of issues, including security.

For Guillermo Lasso, the assassination was an attempt to sabotage the elections. nonetheless, he underlined that the vote will take place as planned on August 20, despite the state of national emergency.

The Ecuadorian Armed Forces are already deployed across the country, revealed the Minister of Defense, assuring that the military “will respond with all force”.Ecuador, one of the Andean countries in South America, was a peaceful nation. nonetheless, it has been devastated by the arrival of international drug cartels that profit from increased cocaine trafficking.

“It is necessary to understand that the mafia has declared war on Ecuador and that the State and the Armed Forces will respond with all their forces to face the killers, their accomplices, those who finance them, those who protect them”, assured Luis Lara. Jaramillo, in a statement to journalists.

Without detailing the exact number of deployed military personnel, the Minister of Defense insisted on this there will be “the presence of the Armed Forces in every town and ward until the electoral process is over”.

Building a “political profit” movement

On Thursday, Villavicencio’s party, Movimiento Construye, rejected a “political contention” of his death and called for a quick investigation.

The party condemned an unverified video circulating on social media, allegedly by a gang called Los Lobos, which claimed responsibility for Villavicencio’s murder, saying it received millions of dollars from them for its campaign and the threat of candidate Jan Topic.

Neither police nor the attorney general responded to requests for comment on the authenticity or origin of the video, which shows more than a dozen masked men dressed in black with high-powered rifles.

Movimiento Construye wrote: “Those who sit down to negotiate with the mafia, those who give them microphones, those who generate fear campaigns and misleading videos in the name of criminal organizations and who take the name of Fernando Villavicencio in vain and lies are responsible for crimes.”

With the assassination of its leader, Construye can choose another candidate to run for president. But on the ballots, which have already been printed and distributed, there is Villavicencio’s name and photo.

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