Two suspects are in custody in connection with the assassination of an Ecuadorian prosecutor who was investigating an attack at a television station in Guayaquil, the country’s largest and one of its most dangerous cities.
The general commander of Ecuador’s national police force confirmed the arrests in a social media post Thursday, saying they apprehended the suspects along with several weapons and two vehicles.
Prosecutor César Suárez, who had carried out other high-profile investigations in the past, was fatally shot Wednesday while driving a vehicle in the city, Attorney General Diana Salazar said. Footage from the incident showed a white vehicle that had been shot at more than 20 times.
“I will say this emphatically: Organized crime groups, criminals, terrorists will not stop our commitment to the Ecuadorian society,” she said in a video broadcast on X, formerly Twitter.
The attorney general’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Thirteen people have been arrested in the assault at TC Television, which was broadcast live and led President Daniel Noboa to declare that Ecuador is in an “internal armed conflict” amid a surge of killings and other crimes tied to drug trafficking.
The attack made international news and threw the country into chaos as prisoners escaped from jails, schools were closed and a national curfew was imposed. It also comes just two months after Noboa’s inauguration.
Violence had been on the rise in Guayaquil, and Ecuador more broadly, where violent deaths doubled from 2021 to 2022. Officials said 3,568 deaths were recorded in the country in the first half of last year, nearly half of them in Guayaquil.
Suárez told local media the day before his death that he did not have police protection after having been assigned to investigate the Jan. 9 attacks. He was previously in charge of the Metastasis case involving an Ecuadorian drug lord who allegedly received favorable treatment from judges, prosecutors, police officers and high officials.
Ecuadorian police said they were working to find those responsible for the murder of Suárez.
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