Six people were killed and another six wounded in an apparent gang shootout, which occurred early on Monday in Guayaquil; a port city in Ecuador experiencing a wave of intense violence. Police sources detailed how rival gangs were involved in what appeared to be a settling of scores which is all too common as they fight for markets and drug routes within urban areas, leaving scores of fatalities.
“They kill each other without mercy.”
— police Colonel Marcelo Castillo
The victims were attacked in a populous neighborhood after the gang members arrived in a black vehicle and opened fire. As a result of the attack, six people were killed, and six others were injured. Two weeks ago, Guayaquil had its first mass shooting of the month, which resulted in four deaths and eight injuries. Both attacks reflect the rapid escalation of criminal violence that has been observed in the city in recent months.
Guayaquil is strategically located on Ecuador’s southern Pacific coast and is the country’s largest city, port, and economic hub. Located between the world’s biggest cocaine producers, Columbia and Peru, Ecuador is a key location for cartels. The use of the US dollar as Ecuador’s currency provides a convenient way for drug cartels to conduct their business. The escalating violence in the country is a reflection of a simmering war between rival gang factions, which is increasingly being played out in the nation’s urban centers.
More than 420 prisoners have died in vicious fighting between rival criminal groups in Ecuadorian prisons since February 2021, some beheaded.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) June 14, 2021
Police Colonel Marcelo Castillo expressed his displeasure in the current trend of events, stating that “They kill each other without mercy.” Despite the recent spate of fatal violence, police have managed to keep most of urban centers safe. Castillo confirmed that the individuals injured in Monday’s attack were in stable condition, adding that violent street clashes have become more prevalent in the country in recent years. The authorities are calling on the government to impose measures that can counter the increasing wave of violence and bring peace to the country.