Ecuador prosecutor investigating gang attack on TV station shot and killed

Ecuador prosecutor investigating gang attack on TV station shot and killed

GUAYAQUIL (Ecuador), Jan 18 (NNN-AGENCIES) — The public prosecutor who was leading the investigation into the on-air assault on an Ecuadorian television station has been shot and killed in a brazen daylight attack in the crime-ridden city of Guayaquil.

César Suárez, who focused on cases involving organized trans-national crime in Guayas province – one of the country’s most violent areas – was ambushed in the north of the city on Wednesday afternoon.

“The criminals, the terrorists, will not hold back our commitment to Ecuadorian society,” the country’s attorney general, Diana Salazar, said in a video posted to social media. “We call on the forces of order to guarantee the security of those who are carrying out their duties.”

Her office was conducting a preliminary investigation at the site of the killing, Salazar said, expressing her grief for Suárez’s family but giving no further details about the crime.

Ecuador has been shaken by a dramatic surge in violence, including the dramatic attack on the studio of TC Television in Guayaquil, the hostage-taking of more than 200 prison staff, explosions in several cities and the kidnapping of police officers.

In response, President Daniel Noboa declared a 60-day state of emergency, including a nighttime curfew, and designated 22 criminal groups as terrorist organizations.

Suárez had reportedly interviewed the 13 gunmen captured after police special forces secured the TV station, and was investigating who had ordered the high-profile attack. He had also worked on a number of other high-profile cases involving drug trafficking and political corruption.

Earlier this week, he told the Ecuadorian newspaper El Universo that he did not have a police bodyguard.

Long considered one of South America’s most peaceful countries, Ecuador has seen its murder rate rocket in the past five years, with a record 7,878 killings last year as Mexican cartels and foreign mafia groups set up camp in what has become a key drug-trafficking route. — NNN-AGENCIES

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