Slovak Prime Minster Robert Fico hospitalised after being shot, 71-year-old suspect arrested

193

15th May 2024 – (Handlova) Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has been injured in a shooting incident, as reported by local media. The incident occurred in the town of Handlova, where a government meeting had taken place, while Mr. Fico was greeting the crowds in front of a cultural community center. Journalists at the scene reported hearing several shots.

Following the attack, Mr. Fico was taken to the hospital, and the alleged 71-year-old assailant was detained by the police. Handlova, located approximately 180km (112 miles) northeast of the capital city Bratislava, was the site of the incident. An eyewitness recounted hearing three or four shots and witnessing Mr. Fico falling to the ground, sustaining injuries to his head and chest. According to sources, he is currently in critical condition.

Initially, Mr. Fico was taken to a nearby hospital by his security team, who hurriedly placed him in a car. Subsequently, he was airlifted by helicopter for further medical attention. A video footage captured the moment when several individuals apprehended the suspect just outside the cultural center in Handlova. However, the authenticity of the footage has yet to be verified by the BBC.

In response to the shooting, Slovakia’s outgoing president, Zuzana Caputova, expressed shock at the “brutal and ruthless” attack on the prime minister and conveyed her wishes for his swift recovery.

Robert Fico returned to power as the Slovak Prime Minister after September’s elections, leading a populist-nationalist coalition. His tenure has been marked by political controversy, including the suspension of military aid to Ukraine in January and the recent implementation of plans to dissolve the public broadcaster RTVS.