Caracas, Venezuela - Enrique Franceschi, the mayor of the city of Arismendi Rio Caribe, was stabbed to death on Sunday, Venezuelan prosecutors said.

"According to preliminary information, Franceschi's lifeless body was found during the morning hours on Sunday, July 20, with multiple wounds caused by a knife, inside his home located in Rio Caribe," the prosecutor's office said.

The 34-year-old Franceschi, a member of the opposition Mesa de Unidad Democratica, or MUD, alliance, had been mayor of Arismendi, a town of some 35,000 in the northeastern state of Sucre, since December 2011.

Investigators guarding the mayor's home refused to tell journalists about any of the theories being discussed regarding possible motives for the murder.

Reacting to news of the killing, opposition leader and former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles called the "murder of our beloved brother Mayor Enrique Franceschi ... (a) tragedy" in a Twitter post.

"On behalf of all mayors of Venezuela, our most sincere condolences for relatives and friends of Enrique Franceschi. Lamentable tragedy," the mayor of Caracas, who is also an opposition leader, Antonio Ledezma, said in a Twitter post.

Violence is one of the main problems affecting Venezuela, according to all public surveys, although the government says that the opposition inflates the crime statistics by double to "magnify the truth" of the problem.

"They (the opposition), for example, say that there are 74 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, something that's a lie" with the true rate being "39 murders per 100,000," Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez said in January.

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