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Ecuador: Prison director killed as voters vote on security referendum

Ecuadorian prison director Cosme Damian Parrales Merchan was killed this Sunday (21), the country's SNAI prison agency said in a statement, as citizens went to the polls to vote in a referendum on a series of security measures.

The SNAI did not provide further details about the death of Parrales, who headed prison No. 4 in Manabi, in the west of the country. The agency said it would work with investigating authorities to determine those responsible.

Ecuador's President Daniel Noboa is expected to win a referendum this Sunday that asks voters to support new security measures to combat rising violence, although recent power cuts could pose a threat to the “yes” vote.

Over the past decade, cocaine smuggling gangs have expanded to every corner of Latin America, transforming previously peaceful nations like the Ecuadorin areas where cartels dominate, according to security authorities and diplomats.

In January, violence made global headlines when armed men stormed a live television broadcast and several prison staff were taken hostage.

Mainly security-related issues in Sunday's referendum include asking voters to approve allowing the military to patrol with police, extradite accused criminals and increase prison sentences for crimes such as terrorism and murder, among other measures.

Source: CNN Brasil

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