Six people were killed and six wounded Monday in an apparent gang shootout in Guayaquil, a port city in the grips of a wave of violence perpetrated by drug traffickers, police said.
Police Colonel Marcelo Castillo told AFP Guayaquil’s second mass shooting in June appeared to have been a settling of scores between rival gangs. The six injured are all in stable condition.
Two weeks ago, a policeman and four other people were killed and eight injured when three men opened fire in a house in Guayaquil in the southwest of the South American country.
These kinds of attacks have become ever-more frequent in Ecuador, especially in Guayaquil, as rival gangs fight for markets and drug routes in the streets and prison, leaving a trail of corpses in their wake.
Castillo said attackers arrived in a black vehicle in a populous neighborhood in the early hours of Monday, “four or five got out” and opened fire even with several people in the street.
“It is pure retaliation for previous acts of violence,” the policeman said. “They kill each other without mercy.”
More than 420 prisoners have died in vicious fighting between rival criminal groups in Ecuadoran prisons since February 2021, some beheaded.
Guayaquil, on Ecuador’s southern Pacific coast, is the country’s largest city, biggest port and economic hub, but in recent years, has become the increasingly bloody center of a turf war.
The port city’s location makes it a strategic launch point for shipments of drugs to the United States and Europe.
Ecuador is located between Colombia and Peru, the world’s top producers of cocaine. The country also, conveniently for cartels, uses the US dollar as its currency.