Authorities reported on Sunday, that an armed attack in the port city of Guayaquil in Ecuador resulted in ten fatalities and three injuries, including a five-year-old girl who is in stable condition and is scheduled to undergo surgery for shrapnel wounds. Police discovered a rifle and 9-millimeter caliber firearms at the crime scene, and there have been no immediate arrests, according to a tweet from the Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office.
Speaking to reporters, National Police Commander William Villaroel said the armed attack had to do with a struggle between organised criminal groups over the fight for territorial control.
“At the moment, our investigation and intelligence units are carrying out operational actions in order to identify those responsible,” Villaroel added.
Describing the attack, the top police official said several people drove up in a black truck, stepped out without saying a word, and opened fire using long weapons.
Speaking to the news agency AFP, a resident said, “I don’t feel comfortable living like this. We can’t go out with our families, with our children.”
On April 1, the government declared a state of emergency in Guayaquil and surrounding areas to curb surging violence in the Pacific port city. The measure included a curfew from 1 am until 5 am.
Guayaquil has become one of Ecuador’s increasingly bloody centres of the turf war between rival drug-trafficking gangs. The port city’s position on the Pacific coast makes it a strategic launch point for shipments of drugs to the United States and Europe.
This latest attack comes as Ecuador has seen a recent surge in violence, including gang- and cartel-related murders and multiple prison riots and massacres. And as the fight against criminal gangs continues, the number of drug seizures has risen but so have violent deaths.
Two weeks back, nine people were killed after 30 gunmen opened fire in a fishing port in the northwestern province of Esmeraldas.