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Ecuador’s youngest mayor, Brigitte Garcia, and her advisor found shot dead in car

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Ecuador’s youngest mayor was found shot to death on Sunday, police said, as the South American country approaches the third month of a state of emergency declared by the government to quell rising violence gangs.

Brigitte Garcia, 27-year-old mayor of coastal San Vicente, was found dead along with her advisor, the municipality’s communications director, Jairo Loor.

In the early hours of the morning, “two people were identified inside a vehicle without vital signs and injured by gunfire,” said the Ecuadorian National Police. said on social media.

She later added that the shots “were not fired from outside the vehicle but from inside.” Investigators are still analyzing the route taken by the car that had been rented.

Luisa Gonzalez, the party’s presidential candidate in recent elections, called Garcia’s killing an assassination.

“I just learned that they murdered our fellow mayor of San Vicente, Brigitte Garcia,” Gonzalez said in a message.

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Brigitte Garcia

twitter.com/melabrigitte


One of Garcia’s last posts on social networkswhere she presents herself as the youngest mayor in the country, spoke of a new project aimed at bringing water to her municipality.

“Together we are building a better future for our community,” she said. wrote Thursday.

In January, President Daniel Noboa imposed a state of emergency and declared the country “in a state of war” against gangs after a wave of violence following the prison escape of “Los Choneros” leader Adolfo “Fito » Macias.

That month, Noboa also gave orders to “neutralize” criminal gangs after gunmen stormed and opened fire in a television studio and bandits threatened to randomly execute civilians and security forces.

Since then, the army has been deployed in the streets and took control of the country’s prisons, where a series of gang riots in recent years have left some 460 people dead.

The government says its so-called “Phoenix Plan” has succeeded in reducing rising violence in the country.

Security forces have carried out some 165,000 operations, made more than 12,000 arrests, killed 15 people considered “terrorists” and seized some 65 tonnes of drugs since January, according to official figures.

But several violent episodes were reported over the weekend, including the ambush of an army patrol in Sucumbios, a province bordering Colombia. One soldier was killed and three others injured in the incident.

In the Andean town of Latacunga, a bomb threat prompted police to evacuate a stadium where a professional soccer championship match was taking place.

After an inspection using a trained dog, authorities discovered a suitcase “containing five explosive charges” in the stadium parking lot, which detonated in a controlled manner, according to a police report.

The government said it would step up security checks after Garcia’s killing.

Once considered a bastion of peace in Latin America, Ecuador has been plunged into crisis after years of expansion by transnational cartels that use its ports to ship drugs to the United States and Europe.



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