Monday, April 22, 2024

LATIN AMERICA | 19-09-2022 15:44

Ecuadorean hate crimes prosecutor murdered

Public prosecutor Edgar Escobar gunned down in front of office, the latest in spate of targeted killings.

A prosecutor who investigated hate crimes and femicide was murdered outside the Ecuadorean public prosecutor's office in Guayaquil on Monday, the government body reported.

Edgar Escobar was "shot this morning" by gunmen outside the building where he worked in the port city, the public prosecutor's office released in a statement via Twitter.

Escobar's murder comes at a time when Ecuador is reeling from a surge in violence related to drug trafficking in which rival gangs have sown terror in Guayaquil and its prison system.

The public prosecutor's office has reported that two suspects were arrested during a police operation on a hill in the city, the country's commercial hub.

The killing is the latest in a string of high-profile shootings. Last month, a judge in the Amazonian town of Lago Agrio on the border with Colombia was also shot dead.

Two months ago, a public prosecutor in the port town of Manta was also killed by gunmen.

Escobar's murder comes hot on the heels of the disappearance of lawyer María Belén Bernal, 34, from a police school in Quito.

A week ago, Bernal went to the school to visit her husband, Germán Cáceres, who works there.

He has been on the run since giving a statement to investigators.

Crime has been on the rise in the country of 18 million. In 2021, the murder rate almost doubled from the previous year to 14 per 100,000 inhabitants.

A succession of bloody prison riots have also left almost 400 inmates dead since February 2021, and at least 573 women have been killed since 2014 in cases considered femicide.




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