The Ecuadorian government has promised justice after a prominent indigenous affairs leader was assassinated.
Eduardo Mendua, the leader of International Relations of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (CONAIE), was assassinated on his farm in the north-eastern Ecuadorian province of Sucumbios, on Monday, 27 February.
The incident has reportedly shocked the nation and sparked a wide-ranging investigation into the murder.
Mendua was reportedly shot multiple times while on his farm in the early morning hours. The authorities arrived at the scene shortly after the incident and transported Mendua to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
CONAIE said in a statement: “Our comrade was on his farm (in the northeastern Amazonian province of Sucumbíos) when hooded men shot him, a crime related to the oil conflict.”
They said that he died from “point-blank shots of the hitman type” and said that he was “one of the visible faces of the resistance in the territory of Dureno (Sucumbios, on the border with Colombia) in the face of the conflict generated in recent months by the presence of oil companies.”
The President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, expressed his condolences to the family of the victim and called for a thorough investigation into the murder. He said in a statement: “We condemn this cowardly act and will do everything in our power to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mauricio Montalvo, also expressed his grief at the loss of Mendua. He said: “We have lost a great leader and a valued member of our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
The investigation is ongoing.