A prominent politician on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, Helmin Wiels, has been shot dead. Witnesses said he was killed on the beach by gunmen who sped off in a car. Mr Wiels, 54, led the Pueblo Soberano party, which campaigns for independence from the Netherlands. Mr Wiels’s Pueblo Soberano party gained a majority of the votes in the 2012 election and holds five of the 21 seats in Curacao’s parliament.
Local media say it is the first time a politician has been assassinated in Curacao. Prime Minister Daniel Hodge said: “This act was horrendous, terrible, and we are in shock.” “We are not accustomed to these things on the island,” the prime minister said.
A motive for the killing remains unclear, but the Curacao government said Mr Wiels had received threats in the past. Justice Minister Nelson Navarro said Mr Wiels had a security guard assigned to him after receiving the threats. He also promised to increase security for all of Curacao’s elected officials. A spokesman for the Pueblo Soberano party said they suspected organised crime to be behind the killing because of Mr Wiels’s work in combating corruption.
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