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A member of the Nicaraguan opposition was shot seven times by two people who came on a motorcycle, Costa Rica authorities said Thursday.

The incident happened near Costa Rica University on the east side of San José on Wednesday. Joao Maldonado, 34, was driving with his partner at the time, Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation department said.

The department is investigating the incident. The motive behind the attack is not known. Authorities have sent the bullet fragments recovered from the crime scene for forensic analysis.

Both Joao and his partner were hospitalized, AP News reported, citing a person close to the opposition member.

This was not the first such attack on Joao. He was attacked in 2021, once again in Costa Rica, just a couple of months after his father, retired military officer Tomás Maldonado, died in a Nicaraguan prison.

Joao has been living in Costa Rica since 2018 when Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega quelled anti-government protests through violence. Due to this, thousands of Nicaraguans left the country and many of them went to the neighboring Costa Rica.

Joao was reportedly an opponent of the Ortega administration and he took asylum in Costa Rica. Since he was attacked previously in the Central American country, he received police protection.

It was not clear if the officers were with Joao when he was attacked Wednesday as there were no reports of gunfire exchange. He was recently moved to a new safe house, the AP News report said.

A study revealed last month that 50% of Nicaragua's population was willing to leave the country due to a repressive government and economic decline. In the last five years, the percentage of Nicaraguans willing to move out of the country has increased from 35% to almost 50%.

Previously, the U.S. State Department slammed Nicaragua for leaving the Organization of American States, noting that it took the Central American country another step away from democracy.

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