Security Guard of Fugitive Regional President Killed

A security guard who served the now-fugitive president of Peru’s northern Tumbes region has been assassinated, leading to questions about a possible political hit.

Oscar Espinoza Lopez, 37,  was tortured and then shot twice in a border town of El Papayal, Zarumilla, according to daily La Republica.

Espinoza was one of a team of security guards protecting the Tumbes region president, Gerardo Viñas, who is being investigated for corruption.  Espinoza’s killers sent a message to his family advising them of the murder, which police say suggests they knew Espinoza well.

Espinoza’s relatives believe he was killed because he knew too much about corruption in the regional administration under Viñas.

He is the third security guard in Viñas’ team to be killed this year.  Medasco Carrasco and Jorge Luis Carrillo were murdered in February and July, respectively.

Viñas is one of several regional presidents who have come under fire this year for allegations of widespread corruption in their administrations. The regional presidents from Ancash, Cajamarca, Pasco and Loreto were detained, while Vinas is believed to have fled across the border to Ecuador after prosecutors issued an arrest warrant.

The mayor of the city of Tumbes, Marjorie Jimenez, has also escaped the region, evading an arrest warrant on charges of corruption.

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