An alleged criminal gang member has been arrested for kidnapping and killing of a team of local reporters in Ecuador.
The suspect was arrested in the northern Ecuadorian province of Esmeraldas, near the border with Colombia.
The Government Minister of Ecuador, Maria Paula Romo, told local media that the suspect is wanted for the kidnapping of the reporters in 2018.
Romo posted: “In Esmeraldas, we have captured the man alias Julain, member of ‘Oliver Sinesterra’ who is wanted for the kidnapping of the reporters of @elcomerciocom.”
The victims, Journalist Javier Ortega, 32, photographer Paul Rivas, 45, and driver Efrain Segarra, 60, worked for Ecuadorian newspaper, ‘El Comercio’ and were kidnapped whilst covering a story on the 26th March 2018.
On the 13th April, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno confirmed their deaths on social media, writing: “With deep regret, I regret to report that the assassination of our compatriots has been confirmed,”
According to Roma, the suspect is also wanted for an explosive attack against police headquarters in the province.
‘Julian’ is reportedly a member of a dangerous armed gang called ‘El Frente Oliver Sinisterra’, a dissident faction of the terrorist group of FARC.
The Minister went on to say that the arrest took place thanks to a coordinated effort between police, prosecution and the army of Ecuador.
According to Ecuadorian police, the criminal gang Oliver Sinisterra is in charge of various criminal activities in the region such as obtaining the chemical precursors for narcotics, drug, weapons and ammunition trafficking and the stealing engines for illegal mine activity.
The criminal gang has also been identified as the authors of the kidnapping and murder of an Ecuadorian couple identified as Oscar Villacis and Katty Velasco.