A presidential candidate in Ecuador has been shot and killed at campaign event

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QUITO (AP) — Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was shot and killed Wednesday by an unidentified gunman while at a political rally in the country’s capital of Quito, President Guillermo Lasso said.

The killing comes amid a startling wave of violence in the South American nation, with drug trafficking and violent killings on the rise.

“I assure you that this crime will not go unpunished,” Lasso said in a statement. “Organized crime has gone too far, but they will feel the full weight of the law.”

Videos on social media appear to show the candidate walking out of the event surrounded by guards. The video then shows Villavicencio entering a white truck followed by gunfire.

The politician, 59, was the candidate for the Build Ecuador Movement. He was one of eight presidential candidates for the late August election.

He was one of the most critical voices against corruption, especially during the government of former President Rafael Correa from 2007 to 2017. He filed many judicial complaints against high ranking members of the Correa government.

Early accounts show that several others were injured in the attack, though authorities did not confirm how many.

He was married and is survived by five children.

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