Ecuador candidate Sonnenholzner says shootout occurs near him By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ecuadorean presidential candidate Otto Sonnenholzner holds a doll depicting him, next to his running mate Erika Paredes, during their closing campaign, in Guayaquil, Ecuador August 17, 2023. REUTERS/Vicente Gaibor del Pino/File Photo

By Alexandra Valencia

QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuador presidential candidate Otto Sonnenholzner said a shoot-out occurred on Saturday outside a restaurant where he and his family were eating, a day before the election and not long after another candidate was assassinated.

“We just suffered a shoot-out in front of the place where I was breakfasting with my family,” Sonnenholzner, a pro-market candidate and former vice president said on X, the platform previously known as Twitter. “Thank God we’re all well but we demand an investigation into what occurred.”

Ecuadoreans head to the polls on Sunday to elect a new president and legislature. Candidate Fernando Villavicencio was assassinated 10 days ago as he was leaving a campaign event.

A video on social media showed Sonnenholzner greeting a supporter in a sunny restaurant and preparing to take a selfie, before shots sound outside.

The national police said they were investigating.

Sonnenholzner has hardened his discourse around crime since the murder of Villavicencio, repeatedly promising his supporters that should he be elected, criminals who use violence against citizens will be shot by police.

Fellow presidential candidate Daniel Noboa on Thursday said there was an attack on his campaign caravan in Duran, but police later said the shooting was not directed at Noboa, son of prominent banana businessman and former presidential candidate Alvaro Noboa.

Meanwhile, Francisco Tamariz, the mayor of the coastal city of La Libertad, said on X on Saturday that shots were fired on Friday at a truck in which he and his wife were riding.

Tamariz alleged police involvement. Police said they would hold a press conference about the incident. Tamariz said he would complain to the attorney general’s office.

The mayor of the Pacific port city of Manta, Agustin Intriago, was murdered in July. The police said on Friday morning they detained four people in his killing.

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