On Monday, Ecuador's Alliance of Organizations for Human Rights (AODH) reported that groups involved in gold mining murdered environmental activist Alba Bermeo, a 24-year-old woman who was five months pregnant at the time of the crime.
This murder occurred on the night of Oct. 21 in San Pedro de Yumate, a town belonging to the Molleturo parish, near the EcuaGoldmining S.A. mining concession.
The victim and her brother were traveling from Guayaquil to Molleturo in a crane. During the journey, the crane was intercepted by an unknown person who asked them to tow a truck that was loaded with gold.
Since the crane driver and the environmental activist did not accept the request, the stranger shot them.
#SeVieneLaConsulta| Cientos de quiteñas y quiteños caminan desde la Cruz del Papa hacia el @cnegobec para entregar más de 300 mil firmas que respaldan la Consulta Popular por un #QuitoSinMinería.— Alianza de Organizaciones por los Derechos Humanos (@DDHH_Alianza) October 24, 2022
The tweet contains images of the march that accompanied the presentation of 300,000 signatures of citizens who support a popular consultation for the Metropolitan District of Quito to be declared a mining-free area.
"The murder of the environmental defender occurs amid extremely violent attacks against this community, which have been denounced to the authorities. This is the third attack with firearms against the residents of Molleturo, who are resisting illegal and legal mining," the AODH said in a statement.
In this regard, local outlets recalled that another environmental activist and her son were attacked in their home on Oct. 1. Days later, another Molleturo resident was injured in her leg.
Despite the seriousness of these events, “neither the Azuay government, nor the Police, nor the Prosecutor's Office have taken measures to provide protection to environmental defenders in Molleturo. They have also done nothing to prevent illegal mining," Rop News commented.