The country is also facing violence in the prison system as deadly clashes erupt between gangs.
Ecuador has declared a state of emergency in three provinces after a shooting left two people dead, including the mayor of a major city.
In announcing this measure on Monday, Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso pay their respects to two victims, Agustín Intriago and Ariana Estefanía Chancay.
“No mother has to bury her child and no child has to grow up without a parent, much less because of a criminal attack,” Lasso said. wrote on Twitter. “Ecuador mourns today.”
Lasso added that a suspect in the shooting has been arrested while investigations are underway.
The shooting took place on Sunday in the port city of Manta, where Intriago, 38, just started his second term as mayor in May. He was re-elected in February.
Chancay, a young soccer player with the Las Dragonas team, was visiting the mayor to talk when the shooting broke out, according to El Universo. She also died from her injuries.
Four others were injured in the attack, when security officers around the mayor returned fire. No motive has been released for the shooting.
Prison clashes broke out over the weekend
The shooting is a particularly serious crime in a country that continues to grapple with gang violence.
Over the weekend, for example, clashes broke out at La Litoral prison, the largest prison in the country. The violence began Saturday afternoon and continued through the weekend, leaving at least six people dead and 11 injured.
Authorities blamed the violence on rival gangs. Located in Guayaquil, the country’s largest port city, this prison is one of the country’s most notorious.
In September 2021, La Litoral experienced one of the bloodiest prison riots in the country’s history, with around 120 people killed. More than 400 people have died in Ecuadorian prisons since that year.
Monday also saw about 90 prison guards taken hostage in the provinces of Cotopaxi, Azuay, Cañar, El Oro and Napo.
Groups inside the country’s thirteen prisons and detention centers have also announced a hunger strike, although authorities have not disclosed the reason for the protest.
Coastal cities like Manta and Guayapil have become hotbeds of territorial wars as gangs seek to transport drugs from Ecuador to overseas destinations. In April, 10 people died and three people were injured, including a 13-year-old girl, in an attack also attributed to gang violence.
In his statement on Monday, President Lasso said the recent deaths “hurt us, and at the same time, encourage us as a nation”.
“Not being punished is a negative message to society,” he wrote. The provinces of Manabí, Los Ríos and parts of Guayas have been placed under curfew as part of the state of emergency.