Moment gunmen open fire killing 10 in cartel-hit Ecuador

Woman dancing in the street films moment gunmen open fire killing 10 in latest massacre to rock cartel-hit Ecuador

  • Five year old girl among the injured after the latest horrific attack in Ecuador
  • Police say they believe it relates to cartel clashes for territory in the region 

Video captures the shocking moment gunmen opened fire in the port city of Guayaquil in Ecuador, killing ten people as cartel violence rocks the nation. 

Gunfire erupted at a mechanic shop in the city’s southwest as people were inside drinking and watching a football match on television, witnesses said. 

Footage shared on Twitter shows a woman who had been singing and dancing in the street fleeing the scene. A voice is then heard to say: ‘Sis, I’m dying. I just got shot by the someone from the Panthers from here. Sis I’m dying. Sis help me. I’m dying… I got shot… I’m here.’

Clips showed a number of people left bloodied on the floor in public in areas later cordoned off by police. Officials reported on Sunday that three people had been wounded in the attack, including a five-year-old girl.

William Villaroel, National Police Commander, told a news conference: ‘We believe that this has to do with a struggle between organised criminal groups over the fight for territorial control.’ 

Police officers inspect a workshop after the massacre in downtown Guayaquil on 30 April

Video shows a woman singing to herself in the street before cutting to her fleeing gunfire

Police arrived to inspect the crime scene where multiple victims were found after the attack

Villarroel said that several people had pulled up in a black truck, stepped out without saying a word, and opened fire using ‘long weapons’.

He said that a five-year-old girl had been injured in the attack, adding that she was ‘stable and is going to be operated on for shrapnel’. 

READ MORE: How violence is spiralling out of control in cartel-ravaged Ecuadorian region where three women were tortured, killed and dumped in a shallow grave

‘I don’t feel comfortable living like this,’ one neighbor told AFP, asking not to be named. 

‘We can’t go out with our families, with our children.’

A rifle and 9-millimeter caliber guns were found at the scene, the Ecuadorean Prosecutor’s Office said on Twitter.

‘At the moment, our investigation and intelligence units are carrying out operational actions in order to identify those responsible,’ the National Police tweeted earlier on Sunday.

No immediate arrests were made. 

Police said that five of the victims of the attack, who have not been named, had criminal records for drug- and weapons-related violations.

Only on Friday 28 April, Defence Minister Luis Lara said Ecuador’s military would launch special-forces operations across the country to clamp down on criminal groups.

The security council also requested that President Guillermo Lasso issue a decree authorizing the use of lethal force by security forces to combat organized criminal groups.

The Ecuadorean government previously declared a state of emergency in early April in Guayaquil and surrounding areas in an effort to curb surging violence in the Pacific port city. The measure includes a curfew from 1am until 5am.

In November last year, President Guillermo Lasso announced a 9pm curfew in certain regions, following the discovery of two headless bodies left hanging from a bridge, the detonation of nine car bombs in coastal cities, and the killing of five police officers. 

The South American country recently authorized civilians to carry and use guns for personal defense amid an increase in crime that the government has blamed on drug trafficking gangs.

Police marked out the crime scene and reported on Sunday that ten had been killed

Ecuadorian police confirmed that three people had been injured in the attack, including a child

Clashes between prison inmates in the country have left more than 420 dead since 2021.

The murder rate outside of the prisons climbed to 25 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2022, up from 14 per 100,000. 

Cartels fighting over territory and distribution routes has caused the explosion of violence, spreading through poor neighbourhoods in port cities.

The situation has become so dire that Colombian President Gustavo Petro said in April: ‘The violence is now greater in Ecuador than in Colombia, and it has to do with the new circumstances of drug trafficking.’

Located on the Pacific coast, Guayaquil is a valuable territory for cartels looking to export drugs to the United States.

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