At least six people were killed and as many injured when gunmen opened fire restaurant fire, in the tourist town of Montanita, Ecuador, as it became known from the prosecutor’s office.

This is already under investigation “armed attack on a restaurant” of the seaside town, according to the district attorney’s office.

The attack took place on Saturday night. So far, the details of the victims have not been announced.

“We heard the noise, the shots and people shouting: run, run, they are shooting at us,” a woman who was in the area told AFP. She did not want to reveal her name for fear of reprisals.

This is the second massacre in the area in a few days. On Thursday, gunmen entered a funeral home in neighboring Manda and opened fire on people attending a memorial service, killing four and injuring eight others.

Ecuador, a country sandwiched between Colombia and Peru, the world’s largest cocaine producers, is experiencing the worst escalation of armed violence in its modern history. Drug-related crime caused homicides to rise sharply in 2022 to 25 per 100,000 inhabitants, up from 14/100,000 the year before.

In early April, in the province of Esmeralda, on the border with Colombia, about 30 gunmen opened fire on a fishing village, killing nine people. Two weeks later, ten people were murdered and three others were injured while watching a football match on television inside a machine shop.

The authorities attribute the violence this in the conflicts between gangs for control of the drug trade on the Pacific coast, an important corridor for drug trafficking to the US.