Venezuela pro-government political figure shot dead

AFP , Wednesday 20 Jan 2016

Robbers shot dead a prominent ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Ricardo Duran Trujillo, 45, was shot near his home on Tuesday night, the state prosecution service said in a statement.

Duran was a former journalist and ex-head of media for the National Assembly legislature.

He was a high-profile supporter of the socialist president, who is locked in a political standoff with opponents.

Prosecutors citing witnesses said Duran "was intercepted by three men" in the west of the capital and resisted when they tried to rob him.

"The unidentified men shot him several times and he died on the spot," then the men drove off in their own vehicle without taking anything, said a prosecution statement.

"It is striking that they did not take anything," said Daniel Aponte, head of the Capital District government, a metropolitan authority for which Duran was working.

Aponte told reporters Duran was carrying his own firearm at the time of the attack.

Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world, according to the United Nations.

It is gripped by a political and economic crisis, with a standoff between Maduro and the center-right opposition in the legislature raising tensions.

Duran was working as head of media relations for the metropolitan authority, which was set up by Maduro to rival the opposition-held city hall.

He was also a Caracas city councilor and worked for state television channel Venezolana de Television.

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