EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index:AMR 28/12/93
UA 422/93 Fear of "Disappearance" 1 December 1993
ECUADOR Clever Leonel MENDOZA
Pedro Pablo IZURIETA
Samuel Zacarías FIGUEROA PICO
Ulbio Zacarías FIGUEROA VILLAMAR
Saúl Fermín FIGUEROA VILLAMAR
Pedro Antonio FIGUERA VILLAMAR
José Gregorio FIGUEROA VILLAMAR
José Efraín BEDOYA
Carlos Cedeño MENENDEZ
Amnesty International is concerned by the reported "disappearance" of the above
nine men, all from or near the town of Manta, province of Manabí.
The nine were reportedly detained by the military in three different operations
on 18, 20 and 27 November 1993. The detentions, all of which were witnessed,
were carried out by hooded men, heavily armed and dressed in military clothing.
The operations were apparently linked to a campaign initiated by the government
to control organized crime.
On 18 November, Clever Leonel Mendoza, Pedro Pablo Izurieta and three other
unnamed people, were reportedly detained in Jaramijó, a small town some 10
kilometres from Manta. On 20 November the three unidentified men were released
on the highway to Guayaquil. They were reported to have been kept blindfolded,
with their hands tied, in a tent, possibly inside a military camp. During their
detention they claim to have been questioned on the whereabouts of "La Rana",
"The Frog", a well-known alleged criminal. The whereabouts of Clever Leonel
Mendoza and Pedro Pablo Izurieta remain unknown.
On 20 November in Manta, Samuel Zacarías Figueroa Pico and his four sons, Ulbio
Zacarías, Saúl Fermín, Pedro Antonio and José Gregorio Figueroa Villamar, were
all taken away from their homes in a military operation conducted by scores
of heavily armed and hooded men. The five were taken away in a vehicle that
witnesses believe belongs to the navy. The Figueroa family are thought to be
friends of Clever Leonardo Mendoza and Pedro Pablo Izurieta.
On 27 November José Efraín Bedoya was taken away from his home in Manta, at
about 9 pm. One hour later, Carlos Cedeño Menendez was detained in the Malecón,
a parade in Manta. Witnesses claim the detentions were carried out by men
similar to those described in the two previous cases.
Relatives of the nine men have approached the police and the military authorities
in Manta but have failed to obtain information on their whereabouts. The cases
have also been denounced by the relatives to the Police Commander of the Province
of Manabí, and to the Minister of Government and Police.
Common and organized crime is reported to have increased in Ecuador during
the past two years. In September 1992, soon after taking over the presidency
of the Republic, President Sixto Durán Ballén issued Decree Law 86. The decree
outlines in its preamble the circumstances which justify the introduction of
special measures to control a level of crime which has given rise to "un grave