On Sunday, gunmen killed five people and injured eight others in a home in the Ecuadoran city of Guayaquil, which has been hit hard by drug-related violence.
According to police colonel Fabary Montalvo, one of the fatalities was a police officer shot in the head.
According to witnesses, three men on a motorbike arrived at a home in the impoverished Isla Trinitaria neighbourhood of the city, went inside, and began shooting, according to Montalvo.
Guayaquil, located on Ecuador’s southern coast, is the country’s largest city, largest port, and economic centre.
In recent years, it has become one of the country’s most bloody battlegrounds between rival drug trafficking gangs.
Because of its strategic location, the port city serves as a strategic launch point for drug shipments to the United States and Europe.
Ecuador is located between Colombia and Peru, the world’s top producers of cocaine. Ecuador also conveniently has the US dollar as its currency, which is attractive to cartels versus other devalued ones.
Drug-linked crime has surged in Guayaquil, with the homicide rate nearly doubling between 2021 and 2022, from 14 to 25 per 100,000 inhabitants.
In April, at least 10 people were killed when heavily armed assailants opened fire outside a shop in Guayaquil. The port city has brown to 2.7 million people, as compared to Quito, the capital, with two million.
And last week, in the nearby town of Duran a prosecutor handling homicide cases was shot and killed.
Last year, Ecuadoran authorities seized 200 tons of drugs, mostly cocaine.