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Three shot dead in Brazil amid electoral violence

29 September 2016 16:24



Three people have been shot dead and a deputy state governor has sustained injuries in a shooting incident in central Brazil, the latest in a spate of killings ahead of municipal elections in the South American country.

The shooting occurred in the town of Itumbiara in the central Brazilian state of Goias on Wednesday when a gunman, a 53-year-old driver, opened fire on a campaign rally motorcade, killing a candidate for the city council and a security guard.

The assailant himself also died in a shootout after wounding Vice Governor José Eliton, who is leading the electoral race to become the town’s mayor.

“Everybody thought the man was coming to shake our hands when he suddenly drew a gun and began to shoot at us,” said federal lawmaker Jovair Arantes, who was on the vehicle targeted by the gunman.

The shooting came amid a wave of killings that have targeted Brazilian local politicians in and on the outskirts of the capital, Rio de Janeiro, over the past months. Law enforcement officials said the incidents could to be the work of organized criminal groups trying to get their favorite candidates elected in the nationwide municipal polls, which are due on October 2.

On Sunday, a candidate for the city council in Rio was shot by unidentified gunmen, and the day after, another candidate for the municipal post was murdered by a masked shooter.

According to police, the victims were among the 15 candidates or politicians killed in and around Rio over the last 10 months.

The October elections will pick 5,568 mayors, and renew members of town councils in Brazil, at a time when the Latin American country is already reeling from the ouster of former president Dilma Rousseff following an impeachment trial last month.

Former vice president Michel Temer has succeeded Rousseff to serve out what would have been the remainder of her second term until 2018.

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