(Quito) Nine people were killed Tuesday in the attack by dozens of unidentified armed men of a fishing port in the town of Esmeraldas, region of northwestern Ecuador, bordering Colombia, plagued by drug trafficking, we learned from official sources.

About 30 assailants, who came by boat and car, burst into the port and opened fire on the crowd of artisanal fishermen, said Interior Minister Juan Zapata, reporting nine deaths.

“Seven corpses were found in the artisanal fishing port of Esmeraldas Township, and two in a nearby health center,” the prosecutor’s office said.

The incident took place around 9 a.m. local time, when nearly a thousand people were in this port on the Pacific coast, according to the Minister of the Interior.

The attackers, “heavily armed” and acting as “criminals”, opened fire indiscriminately on the crowd, he said.