A mayor of the Ecuadorian coastal city La Libertad Francisco Tamariz survived an assassination attempt Friday as he was returning from a nearby city of Guayaquil, he said Saturday, days after a prominent politician and presidential bidder was killed in an attack.
He said he came under attack after militants started firing on his vehicle which he was not hurt and escaped.
“They tried to kill me,” Tamariz said on X, formerly known as Twitter, adding that several people had witnessed the shooting.
Tamariz noted that at least 30 shots were fired at his armoured van.
He said in a Facebook post after the assassination attempt that, he said he was returning late Friday night from nearby Guayaquil when two gunmen stepped out of a police car and opened fire on his van.
“In just seconds, they started to riddle the vehicle with bullets… without ever asking who was in it,” he said in the post, appearing in a bulletproof vest alongside his wife, who was in the van with him at the time.
Ecuador will hold a presidential election Sunday after a campaign marked by the murder of a top candidate and vows to tackle the lawlessness that has engulfed the country.
The small South American nation has in recent years become a playground for foreign drug mafias seeking to export cocaine from its shores, stirring up a brutal war between local gangs.
The murder rate has soared above those of Mexico and Colombia, and the assassination of several politicians in the run-up to the vote underscored the challenges facing Ecuador’s leaders.
The most high-profile among them was presidential candidate and anti-corruption crusader Fernando Villavicencio, gunned down in broad daylight as he left a political rally just days ahead of the vote.
And in another development, a rightist candidate for the presidency, Otto Sonnenholzner, said Saturday on X that he had witnessed a shooting, though it was unclear whether he was the intended victim.
“We were just subjected to a shooting near where I was having breakfast with my family” in Guayaquil, added Sonnenholzner, a former Ecuadoran vice president.
Local officials said there had been a “police pursuit” nearby following a store robbery.