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HomeGlobal NewsSoldiers move gang boss linked to killed candidate – DW – 08/13/2023

Soldiers move gang boss linked to killed candidate – DW – 08/13/2023

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Ecuadorian authorities deployed nearly 4,000 thousands soldiers and police on Saturday to transfer notorious gang leader Jose Adolfo Macias, alias “Fito,” to a maximum security prison.

Presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, who was who was gunned down on Wednesday as he left a campaign rally in the capital Quito, had complained of receiving death threats from Macias. 

Ecuadorean Armed Forces take part in a raid operation at the Zonal number 8 prison, in Guayaquil
About 4,000 soldiers and police officers raided the jail where Macías was being heldImage: Vicente Gaibor Del Pino/REUTERS

On Saturday heavily security forces raided Prison 8 in Guayaquil, where “Fito,” the head of the powerful “Los Choneros” criminal group, was serving a 34 years in prison for organized crime, drug trafficking and murder.

They also seized weapons, ammunition and explosives. 

“Fito” transferred to ‘The Rock’

Pictures and footage of the operation posted by Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso on social media show a large, bearded man being handled by security guards and the same man lying face down on the floor in his underwear with other inmates.

The president explained “Fito” has been transferred to the maximum security prison called “The Rock.”

Lasso has blamed Villavicencio’s murder on organized crime. He said Macias’ relocation was meant “for the safety of citizens and detainees.”

Villavicencio had said an “emissary” of the gang leader had contacted him and threatened “that if I continue… mentioning Los Choneros, they are going to break me.”

Villavicencio believed popular support would keep him safe.

“You’re my bulletproof vest. I don’t need one. You’re a brave people and I’m as brave as you are,” he said at a public meeting in the city
of Chone, the heart of Los Choneros territory. “Bring on the drug lords. Bring on the hitmen.”

Six Colombians have been arrested in Villavicencio’s murder, while a seventh was killed in a shootout with his bodyguards. Authorities haven’t said who hired and paid the hitmen.

Ecuador pays tribute to assassinated presidential candidate

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Running mate of Villavicencio to run for president

Villavicencio, one of eight candidates running for president, was the candidate of the Build Ecuador Movement.

His running mate will now take his place in August 20 elections. “The movement will replace the presidential ticket by putting Andrea Gonzalez as president,” her party said. 

Andrea Gonzalez, the ex-running mate of assassinated Ecuadorean presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio and now presidential candidate for the Movimiento Construye party, attending a ceremony in his honour
Andrea Gonzalez is to replace Ecuador’s assassinated presidential candidateImage: Cesar Pasaca/AFP

Gonzalez is expected to attend the presidential debate in Quito on Sunday. Her work focuses on protecting the environment, particularly in relation to oceans and mangroves, as well as fighting wildlife trade and deforestation.

“The name of the vice presidential candidate will be announced in the next hours and will be chosen among the most trusted of those who have shared the struggles of comrade Fernando Villavicencio,” the party said.

While ballots have already been printed, by law votes for Villvicencio will automatically transfer to Gonzalez.

dh/lo (AP, AFP, EFE) 

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