In less than a week after the assassination of the Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, another local politician Pedro Briones was fatally shot at his home in San Mateo by two motorcyclists, sparking concerns about the safety of the leaders as elections are just around the corner.
Luisa Gonzalez, one of the main presidential candidates said: “Pedro Briones, a member of the Citizen Revolution Party of former president Rafael Correa, and one of the movement’s leaders in the province of Esmeraldas on the border with Colombia, was killed Monday.”
“My solidarity with the family of comrade Pedro Briones, new victim of violence,” she said on former Twitter, now called X.
“Ecuador is going through its bloodiest period,” said Gonzalez, a close former associate of Correa.
She called the government inept and said the “country has been taken over by organised crime gangs.”
Neither the police nor the government confirmed the attack but Ecuadoran media, citing a local police source, said the victim was shot at his home in the town of San Mateo by two men on a motorcycle who later fled the scene.
The murder came less than a week after the killing on August 9, in the capital Quito, of one of the presidential favourites, the centrist Fernando Villavicencio.
The 59-year-old journalist was on a crusade against corruption and was in second place in the polls when he was shot as he left a campaign rally in the capital.
One of his main feats as a journalist was to have put former president Correa, who served from 2007-2017, in the dock thanks to one of his investigations.
Correa, now living in Belgium, was sentenced in absentia to eight years in the case.
Most of Ecuador has been under a state of emergency and President Guillermo Lasso has blamed organized crime for the killing of Villavicencio.
Six Colombians were arrested as part of the probe and one was killed shortly after the attack by the candidate’s bodyguards.