Diana Carnero, a 29-year-old Ecuadorian councilor, was shot dead by unknown assailants in broad daylight in front of a crowd of people shortly after concluding a meeting. It is the latest in a series of killings of political figures in the South American country plagued by violence waged by criminal drug gangs.
Carnero was a member of the Civic Revolution Movement party formed by supporters of former President Rafael Correa. Luisa Gonzalez, a former candidate for the 2023 elections and a member of the same party, confirmed the news in a post on X. He wrote “I have just learned that today they murdered our colleague Diana Carnero, Councilor of Naranjal. Hearty hugs to her family. While these things happen, others criticize their egos in the midst of voting ‘No’ or not voting. Devote themselves to how they have lost their way!”
According to media reports, the incident occurred on Wednesday in Naranjal city of Guayas province. One report said Carnero was attacked while she was chairing a council meeting and recording a video about the poor road conditions in the area.
Two unidentified assailants shot him in the head and fled the scene immediately after the attack. In recent months, Ecuador has seen a spate of violence, leading to killings and prison breaks. In January, Cesar Suarez, a prosecutor who was investigating an attack on state-owned TC Television in the port city of Guayaquil, was shot dead.
According to AFP, Suárez was killed while he was inside his car, after the vehicle was hit by bullets. The killing of the prosecutor came just a week after the government led by President Daniel Ngoboa imposed a state of emergency and nightly curfew in response to a surge in violence.
The president, who took office in November 2023, said the country was “at war” with drug gangs and designated 22 gangs as terrorist organizations, making them official military targets. In retaliation, powerful drug gangs threatened to kill civilians and security forces and took dozens of police and prison officers hostage. At least 20 civilians were killed as a result.
In August 2023, last year’s presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was assassinated just 11 days before the first round of voting, making international headlines. Less than a week after Villavicencio’s assassination, Pedro Briones, a member of the Civil Revolution Movement party, was shot dead. In July 2023, Aguston Intriago, the mayor of Manta, Ecuador’s third-largest city, was assassinated.
Thousands of people have been killed in Ecuador over the past three years as the South American nation has turned into a major drug-trafficking hub and cartel-backed local gangs battle for control of roads, prisons and drug routes. . The murder rate in Ecuador is set to quadruple between 2018 and 2022. Last year was the worst year ever, with 7,800 murders and a record 220 tonnes of drugs seized.