Slovakia's PM In Critical Condition After Being Shot

The Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico was shot multiple times and critically injured in a “politically motivated” assassination attempt on Wednesday, according to the interior minister.

Africa Today News, New York reports that the 59-year-old Fico was shot by a gunman five times on Wednesday and underwent several hours of emergency surgery.

Deputy Prime Minister Tomas Taraba told reporters he believed the operation had gone well.

“I guess in the end he will survive,” Taraba told the British broadcaster’s Newshour programme. “He’s not in a life-threatening situation at this moment.”

Taraba said one bullet went through Fico’s stomach and a second hit a joint.

Earlier on Wednesday, Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok told a briefing outside the hospital in the central city of Banska Bystrica that the prime minister was in a life-threatening condition.

The shooting was “politically motivated and the perpetrator’s decision was born closely after the presidential election”, he said, referring to the election in April, which was won by a Fico ally.

Police have arrested a suspect and an initial investigation found “a clear political motivation” behind the assassination attempt, Sutaj Estok said. The suspect was a 71-year-old man, he said, confirming Slovak media reports that he was a writer.

The shooting in the central town of Handlova, 190km (118 miles) northeast of the capital Bratislava, stunned the central European nation and drew international condemnation.

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The shooting took place after Fico left a government meeting. He was rushed to hospital in the town and later taken by helicopter to Banska Bystrica for urgent treatment.

President Zuzana Caputova condemned “a brutal and ruthless” attack on the prime minister.

“I’m shocked,” Caputova said. “I wish Robert Fico a lot of strength in this critical moment and a quick recovery from this attack.”

President-elect Peter Pellegrini, an ally of Fico, called the assassination attempt “an unprecedented threat to Slovak democracy”.

“If we express other political opinions with pistols in squares, and not in polling stations, we are jeopardising everything that we have built together over 31 years of Slovak sovereignty,” Pellegrini said.

The country’s defence minister called the shooting a “political assault”.

Africa Today News, New York

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