Quito, Ecuador (AFP) —
The mayor of a city in Ecuador said on Saturday (19/8) that he was the victim of an attempted assassination a day before the country’s general election.
Francisco Tamariz, mayor of La Libertad, a coastal town, said he escaped unharmed in the attack on Friday (18/8) when gunmen fired 30 shots at his vehicle.
“They tried to kill me,” Tamariz tweeted via the social media platform X, or previously known as Twitter. He added that a number of people witnessed the shooting.
In a Facebook post, Tamariz said he was returning quite late from a trip near Guaquil on Friday evening when two gunmen got out of a police van and started shooting at his armored van.
“Within seconds they started bombarding the vehicle with bullets..without even asking who was in the vehicle,” he said in a photo and text post on Facebook. In the upload, Tamariz, who is wearing a bulletproof vest, is seen with his wife who was with him in the mobile at the time of the incident.
Ecuador will hold presidential elections (pilpres) on Sunday (20/8) after the killing of the favorite candidate and vowed to overcome the lawlessness that has gripped the country.
This small South American country has for the last few years become a cash ground for foreign drug mafias who want to export cocaine from the country. Their presence triggers a brutal war with local gangs.
Ecuador’s homicide rate has soared above that of Mexico and Colombia. The killing of several politicians ahead of the vote underscores the challenges faced by Ecuador’s leaders.
The murder case that has received the most attention, among others, is the shooting of presidential candidate and anti-corruption fighter, Fernando Villavicencio. He was shot in daylight as he was leaving the campaign site, just days before polling day. (ft/ah)