Ecuador News

Expat dies from injuries suffered in a home invasion near Vilcabamba

A writer / photographer known for his books about primitive cultures in Africa has died from injuries sustained in a home invasion near Vilcabamba. A native of Venasca, Italy, Mauro Burzio, 68, had lived in Ecuador for about ten years according to his family.

Mauro Burzio in Africa, 1999.

An obituary in Italian newspapers described Burzio as “a passionate traveler and photographer, known worldwide as the author of books and articles about Africa.” Before leaving Italy, it said, he was a professor of literature and philosophy.

The obituary said Burzio was especially known for a project, that resulted in a popular book, in which he retraced the journey of 19th century explorer David Livingstone in search of the headwaters of the Nile River.

Authorities in Loja Province say that Burzio’s assailants attacked him with metal objects outside his home in Malacatos, then dragged him inside. He was taken to the health clinic in nearby Vilcabamba and then to a hospital in Loja, where he died.

Police say four suspects are undergoing questioning, three Ecuadorians and one Colombian. They believe that Burzio knew at least one of his attackers.

  • sueb4bs

    Likely, this is another chapter in a complex story over the past several years in Malacatos and Vilcabamba areas of Provincia de Loja…

  • Loren Lowe

    It seems every few months we hear about some Gringo beaten or killed in a Vilca home invasion. Not good.

  • lucila

    best avoid that area…this isnt going to stop anytime soon.

    • Travis Peterson

      Happens here in Cuenca as well, sadly enough we are all seen as millionaires, and of course we should be sharing our millions.

  • dogoslave

    Nobody really knows the circumstances surrounding this man’s needless murder on his own property. Home invasions can occur anywhere; barred windows and monitored alarm systems are only a deterrent at best, and even then, you’ll wait for help. The further out, the longer the wait and until help does arrive, you’re on your own.
    The only instantaneous response to intruders are properly trained dogs. Training is expensive but well worth it and you’ll enjoy loyal companions that will give their life protecting “their” family. Unlike guns, dogs will automatically be wherever your family needs them because you live on “their” property.
    Would dogs have saved this poor individuals life? Possibly, but we’ll never know for sure.

    • Martica Leonard

      Unfortunately, dogoslave, the dogs are the first to die when a house is targeted by thieves….a nice idea, theoretically, but doesn’t fly here in EC.

    • Harvey888

      is there ever a needful murder? and please save your “concern” for a more appropriate time.

      • dogoslave

        Hey! Harvey…….KMA!

        • Harvey888

          no wonder they hate you

          • dogoslave

            Hey! Harvey……..KMA again.

    • Travis Peterson

      Sad thing is that most robbers throw poisoned steaks in beforehand, was teaching a vet and he said he saw so many cases of this.

  • EcuBananas

    These comments so far are WAY out of line. “Avoid the area?” It’s a big province, so avoid it if you want. Crime happens everywhere. The home invasions in Vilcabamba in 2015 (?) were all related. In other words, the victims all had something in common with the attacker(s). The victim in the latest incident in Malacatos was also believed to have known one of the attackers.

    “Every few months we hear about some Gringo beaten or killed in a Vilca home invasion?” Simply NOT true. Perhaps you should stick to your alternative facts.

  • JoJo

    Sadly..,this is only the beginning…the expats have $$$ and the locals
    do not=bad chemistry. Yes…it will get worse. Vilca is so “gringo-ized” that inlges is spoken almost equally with español. There is some anti-gringo sentiments in Cuenca too. As I was exiting Mall del Rio last week…hailing a cab outside…the 1st taxista drove past me to pick up an Ecuadorian couple…..It is what it is.

  • Micky Pedersen

    My condolences to his family. It is a sad day when anyone’s life is taken.

  • dogoslave

    You seem to have missed the part about a “properly trained” dog.

  • Ken

    The other couple may have called the taxi? Maybe the taxi driver knew the other couple?

    • ecexplorer

      Perhaps. But many of us that live outside the “gringo bubble” have seen a consistent deterioration in the attitudes of Cuencanos toward us over the last few years.

      • nards barley

        While I am not sure what the demarcations are for the “gringo bubble” and whether I live outside it, I haven’t seen this anecdotal observation of yours, but some resentment towards outsiders is expected as its community grows in size.

        • StillWatching

          As usual, spot on, Nards.

      • StillWatching

        Ever stop to consider that it might be you, personally, that is the object of deteriorating attitudes, not gringos in general?

        I’ve lived here longer than dirt and never inside what you call the “gringo bubble”. I’ve not seen any evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, of what you allude to.

  • MysticalRose

    Very alarming and disturbing. Is there ever any follow-up to these cases?

  • nickspm

    Apparently llamas provide great security for rural areas that can be completely fenced-in. They act as a deterrent to strangers and provide a good early-warning system with their notable call/yelp.

    Dogs probably do more good on the inside of the house protecting the inhabitants.


    We should be demanding the right to carry a loaded gun, all the time…a few of these thugs get shot and word will get around to leave the gringos alone….

    • Mike Walker

      There are no “2nd amendment rights”
      You want your 2nd amendment “rights” ? Catch the next flight to Miami.

    • disqus_v4jguO70aY

      I agree with U completely!