Politician in Ecuador killed less than a week after presidential candidate’s assassination

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The unprecedented violence shaking Ecuador claimed the life of another political leader Monday, bringing the number of politics-related slayings within the last four weeks to three, including that of a presidential candidate.

The fatal shooting of Pedro Briones, a local leader of Revolucion Ciudadana, the party of former president Rafael Correa, was confirmed by Luisa Gonzalez, the frontrunner in Sunday’s special presidential election and member of the same party.

The shooting happened in the northern province of Esmeraldas. Details were not immediately available.

“Ecuador is experiencing its bloodiest era,” Gonzalez tweeted. “A heartfelt hug to the family of colleague Pedro Briones, fallen by the hands of violence.”

The killing of Briones, who was a political leader in a rural area of San Mateo de Esmeraldas, came less than a week after the South American country was rocked by the assassination in broad daylight of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio.

Villavicencio had a famously tough stance on organized crime and corruption. He was killed at the end of a political rally in Quito, the capital, despite having a security detail that included police and bodyguards.

Forensic investigators work on a street that's cordoned off by police tape.
Police walk the scene where presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was killed at a campaign rally in Quito, Ecuador, last Wednesday. (Juan Diego Montenegro/The Associated Press)



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