West News Wire: In response to the murder of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio during a campaign rally in the nation’s capital, Quito, President Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador has declared a state of emergency that would last for 60 days over the entire nation. 

Villavicencio, 59, was assassinated at the campaign event on Wednesday amid a spike in violence in the Andean nation that was attributed to drug traffickers. Villavicencio was a prominent opponent of organised crime and corruption. 

In a speech that was aired on YouTube on Thursday, Lasso declared: “The armed forces as of this moment are mobilised throughout the national territory to guarantee the security of citizens, the tranquillity of the country, and the free and democratic elections of August 20.” 

Approximately 30 shots were reportedly fired at a gathering in Quito’s north, according to local media. Following the incident, Villavicencio was seen on social media video footage getting into a car, just before there was the sound of what appeared to be gunfire and screaming. 

“Shocked and outraged by the murder of presidential hopeful Fernando Villavicencio. His wife and girls have my support and sympathies,” Lasso wrote on X, the social media website that replaced Twitter. 

One of the criminal suspects, according to the attorney general’s office, eventually passed away from wounds received during a shootout. Nine additional people were hurt in the incident, including two police officers and a candidate for the legislature. 

Later, the office announced that during raids in, it has so far detained six individuals in connection with the crime. 

Ecuador’s police and Interior Ministry did not respond to repeated requests for comment about the details of the killing, but Lasso confirmed police safely detonated a grenade left behind by the killers. 

Read More
IRGC member assassinated in armed strike in Tehran

After meeting with security and election officials, Lasso stated in a video message made after midnight local time, “This is a political crime, which has the character of terrorism, and we do not doubt that this murder is an attempt to sabotage the electoral process.” 

According to El Universo, the country’s leading newspaper, the candidate was killed “hitman-style and with three shots to the head.” 

Videos that have been shared on social media seem to show Villavicencio leaving the event while being watched by security. Then there is gunfire as he gets into a white pickup, as shown on the footage. 

Images and video from the rally depict chaotic scenes as attendees scurried for cover on a building’s level after shots were fired. 

Later, the attorney general’s office reported that a suspect had passed away as a result of wounds sustained during capture. 

“A suspect was taken into custody and transported, seriously injured, to the [attorney general’s] unit in Quito after being hurt during the shootout with security agents. His death was confirmed by a fire department ambulance, and the police are now collecting the body, according to a statement posted on social media by the attorney general’s office. 

According to accounts, two police officers and a legislator candidate were among the other nine persons hurt during the incident. 

After the shooting, Patricio Zuquilanda, Villavicencio’s campaign adviser, informed The Associated Press that Villavicencio had received threats against his life, which he had reported to the police. 

Zuquilanda called on international authorities to take action against the violence, attributing it to rising violence and drug trafficking in the country. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here