SANTIAGO (Reuters) -Chile Interior Minister Izkia Siches’s visit to the restive region of Araucania was interrupted by gunshots near her motorcade on Tuesday, forcing her to temporarily take shelter in a police station, police and government officials said.
The gunshots did not target her convoy, however, a government spokeswoman said. Siches was shown on local television later leaving the police station.
Siches’s visit was to start dialogue to address conflicts in Araucania between authorities and local Mapuche indigenous groups in the southern region, which is under an official state of emergency due to violence and regular attacks.
Government spokeswoman Camila Vallejo said the shots were fired in the air and the motorcade wasn’t hit or targeted. Vallejo said that Siches will continue the visit as scheduled.
“It won’t be easy,” Vallejo said at a press conference at the La Moneda government palace. “But we have the conviction that it’s the right thing to do.”
(Reporting by Alexander Villegas and Natalia Ramos; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)