Candidate in Ecuador’s Presidential race calls for investigation after gunfire incident

Against the backdrop of persistent violence in Ecuador, a participant in the upcoming presidential election has urged for an inquiry following a shooting incident close to a restaurant where he was having breakfast.

Otto Sonnenholzner, identified as a conservative political candidate, was in the company of his family and supporters when gunfire erupted, triggering panic in the surrounding area.

Although Mr. Sonnenholzner is not believed to have been the primary target, the electoral campaign has been marred by an upsurge in gang-related assaults. This disturbing trend follows the assassination of fellow candidate Fernando Villavicencio in the capital just last week.

The incident involving Mr. Sonnenholzner, aged 40, took place in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, on Saturday. Video footage circulated on social media captures the former vice president engaging with his supporters at the restaurant before the sound of gunshots shatters the atmosphere. Local journalists’ accounts suggest that a robbery might have occurred nearby.

Subsequently, Mr. Sonnenholzner utilized Twitter to express his gratitude for the safety of himself and his associates, while also demanding a comprehensive investigation into the event. He stressed the urgency of addressing the unsustainable state of affairs and the need for appropriate action.

The frequency of shootouts during the campaign has laid bare the hazardous climate in Ecuador. In the wake of Fernando Villavicencio’s assassination, candidates have recalibrated their priorities to address peace and security concerns, resonating with the population’s longing for assurance and stability.

The use of bulletproof vests has become more conspicuous on the campaign trail, underscoring the elevated security apprehensions among the candidates. As the election draws near, prudence has become the watchword, resulting in a reduction of extensive campaign gatherings.

The killing of journalist Fernando Villavicencio, celebrated for unearthing corruption and exposing ties between organized crime and officials, has evoked widespread dismay and censure. In connection with his murder, six individuals, all of Colombian nationality, have been taken into custody.

In an additional disconcerting development, the mayor of La Libertad, a coastal town, divulged that he narrowly escaped an assassination attempt. Mayor Francisco Tamariz recounted how his vehicle came under a hail of gunfire with around 30 shots fired on a Friday night. Miraculously unharmed, his experience casts a revealing light on the escalating atmosphere of jeopardy and uncertainty enshrouding the impending elections.

As the nation gears up for the forthcoming elections, apprehensions are growing about the potential for more violence and unrest to unfold.