Second Ecuadoran mayor killed ahead of anti-crime referendum

Mayor Jorge Maldonado of Portovelo was fatally shot by two assailants on a motorcycle, adding to a series of targeted killings of Ecuadorian mayors. The incident occurred amidst an energy crisis caused by a severe drought, leading to prolonged blackouts and a state of emergency declared by President Daniel Noboa to safeguard the electricity supply. Maldonado’s assassination marks the fifth Ecuadorian mayor killed in a year, reflecting a broader security crisis. The AME municipalities’ association has called for urgent action to ensure the safety of other mayors. Ecuador is facing organized crime challenges, with millions set to vote on stricter measures against criminal groups in a referendum. The country has been embroiled in violence linked to transnational cartels, prompting a state of “internal armed conflict” declaration by Noboa. Politicians, journalists, and law enforcement officials have been targeted, with the military deployed to address the situation. Sunday’s referendum aims to authorize measures to combat terrorism and drug trafficking amid escalating violence and insecurity.

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