Ecuadorian presidential candidate Villavicencio killed in attack

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TOPSHOT - A woman is assisted after being wounded after shots were fired at the end of a rally of Ecuadorian presidential cadidate Fernando Villavicencio in Quito, on August 9, 2023. Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was shot dead after holding a rally in Quito on Wednesday evening, local media reported, citing Interior Minister Juan Zapata. Mr. Villavicencio, a 59-year-old journalist, was one of eight candidates in the August 20 presidential election. (Photo by AFP)

Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was killed in a shooting attack on Wednesday night, according to local media reports . Villavicencio, who was running for the center-right Honestidad coalition, was shot multiple times by unknown assailants after a campaign rally in the capital Quito. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Villavicencio, a former journalist and anti-corruption activist, was one of the leading contenders for the October 15 presidential election. He had vowed to fight against corruption, poverty, and inequality in the South American nation. He had also criticized the current government of President Guillermo Lasso for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis.

The attack on Villavicencio has sparked outrage and condemnation from across the political spectrum. President Lasso declared three days of national mourning and ordered a full investigation into the incident. He also called for unity and peace among Ecuadorians in this difficult time. Several other presidential candidates expressed their condolences and solidarity with Villavicencio’s family and supporters .

The motive and identity of the attackers remain unknown. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far. The Ecuadorian authorities have increased security measures and deployed additional forces to prevent further violence ahead of the election.

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