Ecuador: Six Colombians accused of killing presidential candidate; State of emergency and elections ratified


Ecuador: Six Colombians accused of killing presidential candidate; State of emergency and elections ratified

Friday, August 11th 2023 – 09:12 UTC



Interior Minister Juan Zapata described the killing as a “political crime of a terrorist nature” aimed at sabotaging the August 20 presidential election

Six people have been arrested in Ecuador late on Thursday in connection with the killing of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio following a political rally a day earlier.

He was a well-known anti-corruption crusader who was polling in fifth place, and was shot dead as he left a campaign event in Quito. The gunman was killed in a shootout with police.

Interior Minister Juan Zapata described the killing as a “political crime of a terrorist nature” aimed at sabotaging the August 20 presidential election. He had added that “those arrested belong to organized crime gangs.”

“The national police now have the first arrests of the alleged material authors of this abominable event and will employ all of their operative and investigative capacity to discover the motive of this crime and its intellectual authors,” Zapata said. 

“All of them, including the deceased, are Colombians,” police reported. During the arrests and raids, police found weapons including a rifle, a submachine gun, four pistols, three grenades, two rifle magazines and four boxes of ammunition. They also found a stolen vehicle.

Given the degree of political and criminal violence, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso declared a two-month state of emergency after the incident. He also declared three days of national mourning over candidate Villavicencio.

The United States FBI confirmed that Lasso had asked it for help with the investigation.

The Ecuadorian government said that although the assassination was an attempt to sabotage the election, the vote will nevertheless go ahead.

“Citizens have the guarantee that the armed forces will provide the necessary security for the realization of the vote; the vote of Ecuadorians will be the best response to the mafias and their allies,” Defense Minister Luis Lara told reporters.





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