Six individuals accused of assassinating an anti-corruption presidential candidate in Ecuador met their demise in prison last Friday.
The alleged assailants, who had been implicated in the attack on Fernando Villavicencio back in August, were killed while incarcerated in a Guayas province jail, as reported by Ecuador’s prisons agency, SNAI.
The Ecuadorian government strongly condemned these killings, which occurred just a week before a pivotal run-off election. President Guillermo Lasso, in a statement on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), pledged a commitment to uncover the truth behind the crime, vowing “neither complicity nor cover-up.”
Lasso also announced the cancellation of his visit to Seoul and his return from a trip to New York to address the incident.
These fatal events occurred at the Litoral Penitentiary in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city. SNAI provided limited information about the victims, mentioning only that they were all Colombian nationals.
The government has reiterated its determination to identify those responsible for the assassination of Mr. Villavicencio, a prominent journalist who was killed less than two weeks before the first-round general election. Police had apprehended the six Colombians on the day of the assassination, while a seventh Colombian suspect was shot and killed by the police. Additional suspects were subsequently arrested, and the United States agreed to send FBI agents to aid in the investigation.
Daniel Noboa, a business heir who holds a slight lead in some polls ahead of the run-off election, called on the government to disclose the details surrounding the prison incident and emphasized the importance of restoring peace in the country via a social media post.
His main rival in the presidential race, Luisa Gonzalez, a protege of leftist former President Rafael Correa, expressed concerns about surging crime but urged voters not to be deterred by “terror” and to vote for change.