Guatemala's Giammattei unharmed after gunmen fire on military guarding entourage

Guatemala's President Alejandro Giammattei speaks during a bilateral meeting with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris (not pictured) at the Palacio Nacional de la Cultura, during Harris' first international trip as Vice President to Guatemala and Mexico, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, June 7, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

GUATEMALA CITY, July 30 (Reuters) - Guatemalan military exchanged fire with the passengers of a car as it approached the location of President Alejandro Giammattei's entourage on Saturday, though the president was elsewhere and was unharmed, an army spokesman said.

Military officials stopped the vehicle as it neared a checkpoint guarding the presidential delegation during a visit by Giammattei to the area of Huehuetenango, 300 km (190 miles) east of capital Guatemala City, the spokesman said.

The occupants of the car opened fire on the soldiers, who returned fire. Giammattei was about 2 km (a mile) away at the time.

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"We inform the people of Guatemala and the international community that the president is unharmed and was evacuated from the area in a timely manner," a government statement said.

One of the gunmen, who is Mexican, was injured in the confrontation, the statement said. The others fled in the car towards the Mexican border about 80 km (50 miles) away, it said.

Four Guatemalans were later detained by the Mexican military, the Guatemalan government said. Two rifle grenades were also found over the border in Mexico.

A press representative for Mexico's Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Additional reporting by Tomas Bravo; Writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and William Mallard

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