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ARGENTINA | 06-09-2022 14:02

What do we know about the failed attack on Cristina Fernández de Kirchner so far?

Five days after the failed assassination attempt on Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the attacker's motives are still unknown and the investigation is going.

Five days after the failed assassination attempt on Vice-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the attacker's motives are still unknown and there is still an investigation into his entourage and his girlfriend.

Here's what we know so far:

 

How did the attack happen?

Shortly before 9pm last Thursday night, Fernández de Kirchner was returning home from the Senate, of over which she presides. A group of supporters were waiting for her there to express their support. As she waved and signed copies of her book Sinceramente, an arm emerged from the crowd pointing a gun less than a metre from her head.

The event sparked immediate confusion. Fernández de Kirchner apparently did not realise that the attacker had drawn a handgun, continuing to autograph books and meet supporters.

The assailant was quickly wrested away by her backers and police officers. The gun was found on the floor at the scene and taken away by the police. The attacker's DNA was found on the trigger, slide and grip of the pistol, according to a source involved in the investigation. 

The assailant used a .32-calibre Bersa pistol. It had five bullets in the magazine but none in the chamber. Despite the trigger having been pulled twice, no projectile was fired. It has not yet been determined why. In a raid on the attacker's home, 100 9mm bullets were found.

 

What do we know about the attacker?

The assailant has been identified as Fernando Andrés Sabag Montiel, a 35 year-old Brazilian national, the son of an Argentine and a Chilean. He has lived in Argentina since he was a child. 

He had no known formal occupation, but has worked as a driver for passenger car applications. In recent times, together with his girlfriend, they made and sold candyfloss. 

In 2021, he had a case that was later closed related to the illegal possession of a weapon, a 35-centimetre long knife.

On social networks, he appears in multiple selfies in different guises: short hair, long hair, with or without a beard, with or without rings, displaying tattoos associated with Nazi symbology. The hand tattoos that appear in the videos of the attack coincide with those shown in the selfies.

According to Kirchner's lawyer, Gregorio Dalbón, the attacker did not act alone. "I can advance [the news] that there are more people involved," he said on Sunday hours before the attacker's girlfriend was arrested. He specified that the other possible people involved "are not public people, they are like this boy was".

 

What is the status of the case?

The case is being handled by Judge María Eugenia Capuchetti, together with Prosecutor Carlos Rívolo.

The judge has already taken testimony from the vice-president, who asked to be a plaintiff in the case. Some 30 witnesses, police officers and guards have since paraded in front of the court to provide information.

The accused has refused to testify.

The assailant's mobile phone, already in the hands of the investigators, was apparently blocked and returned to factory settings without the internal data having been recovered, which caused controversy. The SIM cards and the external memory are being analysed.

Sabag's girlfriend, 23-year-old Brenda Uliarte, was arrested on Sunday night at a train station in Buenos Aires. Her phone is also being analysed.

Uliarte has been identified in videos recorded near to where Sabag Montiel tried to kill the vice-president, contrary to what she had previously stated. In an interview on Telefé after the attack, the young woman had said that she had not seen him 48 hours before the attack.

An aunt of the young woman, named Sandra, told the press on Tuesday amid sobs that the young woman "is not capable of this" and that she had been manipulated.

Four friends of the couple have also testified as witnesses and their mobile phones are being analysed.

 

– TIMES/AFP

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