According to the country’s president, Fernando Villavicencio, a candidate for president of Ecuador, was shot and killed after a demonstration in the nation’s capital, Quito, which resulted in the death of a suspect who suffered gunshot wounds.
On Wednesday, Guillermo Lasso acknowledged that Villavicencio had been killed and vowed that the crime would not go unpunished.
“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.
I can tell you that this atrocity will not go unpunished in honor of his memory and his struggle, he said. “Organised crime has advanced significantly, but they will bear the full weight of the law.”
Lasso announced that he would welcome important security personnel during a critical conference.
Former congressman Villavicencio, 59, was shot following a political gathering in Quito.
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 office of Ecuador’s attorney general reported that a suspect in Villavicencio’s murder had passed away from wounds received 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.
Invoking escalating violence and drug trafficking in the nation, Zuquilanda urged international authorities to intervene to stop the violence.
He declared, “Ecuador is mortally wounded, and the Ecuadorian people are crying.”
No member of society may die as a result of politics.
Villavicencio, who hails from the Andean province of Chimborazo, highlighted alleged losses in oil contracts as a former politician, Petroecuador union member, and later, a journalist.
He was one of the eight candidates for president who had registered to run in the August 20 elections.
Villavicencio reported an oil company on Tuesday to Ecuador’s attorney general’s office, but no other information about his allegation was made public.
In addition, Villavicencio was a vocal opponent of the previous president Rafael Correa and received an 18-month prison term for defamatory remarks he made about him. He took refuge in indigenous land in Ecuador before being granted asylum in Peru.
Villavicencio was a well-known Correa critic, according to journalist Gordon Durnin, who spoke to Al Jazeera from Quito. Correa served as president from 2007 to 2017.
Durnin stated that the Correa administration had been the target of “many, many charges and evidence against it for corruption.”
As a congressman, Villavicencio came under fire from opposition politicians for impeding Lasso’s attempt to be impeached this year, which caused him to call for early elections.
“Today, more than ever, it is imperative to take a tough stance against crime. May God have him in his splendor, wrote Jan Topic, another candidate for the presidency, in a post on X.