Six Colombians Implicated in the Assassination of Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate Were Killed in a Guayaquil Prison
Six Colombians who had been arrested for suspected involvement in the August assassination of Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio were killed while detained in a Guayaquil prison earlier this month. A seventh suspect was also killed in Quito prison the following day, according to local authorities.
In total, 13 men had been arrested for their alleged involvement in Villavicencio’s assassination, and the other six were transferred to an unknown location to protect their lives, according to Ecuadorian officials.
Following the prison killings, multiple high-ranking officials were removed from their positions, including Alain Luna, general director of investigation of the Ecuadorian Police, and Luis Ordoñez, director of Servicio Nacional de Atención a Personas Privadas de la Libertad (SNAI). The director of CPL Guayas 1 prison in Guayaquil was dismissed and arrested.
César Augusto Zapata Correa was named as the new head of the police by Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso, who did not run for re-election and will be succeeded by President-Elect Daniel Noboa, the former National Assembly member who won the October 15 election.
Officials made plans to interview various prison workers and officials, as well as conduct an autopsy on the bodies of the victims, as part of an investigation into the killings. The United States sent investigators to work with Ecuador prosecutors and offered a $5 million USD reward for information into the case.
A gang known as Las Águilas is known to operate within the Guayaquil prison, according to the news publication Primicias de Ecuador
Lasso, who returned to the country early from the international trip he was on when the incident occurred on October 6, renewed the existing national state of emergency for an additional 30 days.
Political assassinations have been rampant in Ecuador this year and have further put a spotlight on the Andean nation’s ongoing fall into violence.
According to the national government, Ecuador now has a homicide rate of 40 per 100,000 people. This figure marks it as one of the deadliest countries in the world and represents a staggering rise from the rate of 6 homicides per 100,000 people recorded in 2018.
According to SNAI, the seven Colombians were killed were Jhon Gregore R., Andrés Manuel M., Adey Fernando G., Camilo Andrés R., Sules Osmin C., and José Neyder L.