A new wave of violence has engulfed Guayaquil, the second-biggest city in Ecuador. Over the weekend, the metro area recorded ten homicides within 20 hours, and authorities on Monday confirmed the killing of Édgar Escobar, a prosecutor. Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder.
The so-called Zone 8 — an area with a population of 2.6 million encompassing Guayaquil, Durán, and Samborondón — has already topped the mark of 1,000 deaths in 2022 so far. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the government has counted 145 explosive attacks countrywide this year, of which 72 in the Guayaquil area.
This weekend’s killing spree took place just a few weeks after five people were killed in a series of bombings associated with increasing narcoterrorist activity. Guayaquil is also one of the epicenters of a nationwide wave of prison massacres. Faced with these soaring figures, President Guillermo Lasso last week extended a state of emergency in the city for a further 30 days.
Guayaquil will, on October 29, host the final match of this year’s Copa Libertadores football tournament (South America’s most important), which will be played between two Brazilian clubs: Flamengo and Athletico Paranaense.
Despite public safety concerns, Conmebol — the South American football governing body — ruled out the possibility of an alternative venue.