Quito: At least nine people were killed on Tuesday in an armed attack on a small fishing port in the northwest Ecuadorian province of Esmeraldas, on the border with Colombia, said the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE).
Authorities recovered seven corpses at the scene and two more from a nearby hospital, and took them to a forensic center, said the FGE, adding it was investigating “to find those responsible for this crime.”
According to local media, a group of assailants armed with pistols and rifles arrived at the port in the morning, and began shooting at merchants and employees working at the warehouse before fleeing the scene.
Interior Minister Juan Zapata told news website Primicias the attack was carried out by 30 assailants, and at least four people were injured in the incident.
Investigation is underway into whether organized crime groups were behind the attack.
Meanwhile, the military said via Twitter it would support the police in their “search by air and land for those involved in the shooting.”
The government of Esmeraldas province declared a state of emergency in March, which is still in place, due to rising crime and violence.