BUENOS AIRES, August 10. /TASS/. One of the largest gangs in Ecuador, Los Lobos, has claimed responsibility for the murder of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, the Colombian magazine Semana has said.
The culprits said "failure to fulfill promises" and corruption were the reason. The publication refers to a record uploaded to social media, which shows about 20 hooded gunmen, who say that they "take responsibility for the murder" Villavicencio. As the magazine noted, the Los Lobos gang has also made threats against other politicians, notably Jan Topic, the nominee of the alliance for Ecuador Without Fear (Ecuador sin Miedo).
Earlier, Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso called the assassination of a presidential aspirant a "political crime" and an attempt to disrupt the election. According to opinion polls, center-right Villavicencio was the fourth or fifth most popular candidate.
The politician, who represented Ecuador’s Construction Alliance (Movimiento Construye), was gunned down after an election event in Ecuador's capital on the evening of August 9. Nine other people were wounded. One of the suspects was fatally wounded in the shootout, prosecutors said. A state of emergency has been imposed on the country.
Ecuador’s early presidential and parliamentary elections are due on August 20. Lasso called the elections in May this year to dissolve parliament. According to the head of state, he took such a step because lawmakers were preventing the government from carrying out reforms. Lasso, whose term is due to expire in 2025, has announced that he will not run in the elections.