Ecuador’s youngest mayor Brigitte Garcia found shot dead alongside advisor

Ecuador's youngest mayor, Brigitte Garcia, and an advisor were found shot dead in a car early on Sunday, said police in the South American country, which is in the grips of a wave of violence that authorities blame on drug trafficking

National police said they were investigating the deaths of Garcia, the 27-year-old mayor of San Vicente, and Jairo Loor, after the discovery of their bodies in the province of Manabi. Both suffered gunshot wounds, police said in a statement.

Garcia belonged to former President Rafael Correa's Citizen Revolution party.

Correa and Luisa Gonzalez, the party's presidential candidate in the recent elections, called Garcia's killing an assassination on social media platform X.

"I've just found out they've assassinated our fellow mayor of San Vicente Brigitte Garcia," Gonzalez said in a post.

"I have no words, in shock, nobody is safe in Ecuador NOBODY."

Garcia is the latest political figure in the country to be killed following the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio last August. Villavicencio, a vocal critic of corruption and organized crime, was killed while leaving a campaign event two weeks before the election.

President Daniel Noboa declared a state of emergency in January amid a spike in violence that saw armed men invade a TV station during a live broadcast. Noboa also designated 22 criminal groups as terrorist organizations.

The state of emergency was extended earlier this month.