(Caracas) Venezuela will request “immediate assistance” from the United Nations to defuse the anti-personnel mines that Colombian armed groups planted in the southeast of the country, according to Caracas, during the fighting since March 21. On the border with Colombia, President Nicolas Maduro announced.
Venezuela is preparing a “communication” that will be directed to the “Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres […] To seek immediate emergency assistance from the United Nations […] To defuse the minefields left by these irregular groups of murderers and drug traffickers from Colombia, “Maduro said on public television on Sunday.
According to the official Venezuelan toll, 15 people were killed (6 Venezuelan soldiers and 9 members of armed groups, whom the authorities described as “terrorists”), while the Venezuelan army posted pictures of artillery strikes on Twitter on Sunday.
About 30 people have also been arrested and weapons, explosives and drugs have been seized since the beginning of the fighting, with the aim, according to Caracas, to prohibit entry into Venezuelan territory to the Colombian armed groups that settled there.
We expelled them (these groups) from several camps. They left mined land […]. We lost many soldiers to these mines. the killers! Maduro continued.
In his usual speech, the Venezuelan president accused these groups of association with “the Colombian army and the government of (Colombian President) Ivan Duque.” He added, “They wear guerrilla clothes to serve drug smuggling routes.”
According to a security source in Colombia, these “armed groups” are splintered from the former Colombian guerrilla forces of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Although most of the 13,000 former Marxist guerrilla members laid down their arms, “splinter” factions did not accept the peace process signed in 2016 in Colombia.
Colombia’s Military Intelligence said that these groups without a unified command, funded by drug smuggling and clandestine mines, have been strengthened in isolated areas.
On Sunday, Maduro acknowledged the possibility that these groups were splinter groups from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The Venezuelan authorities usually avoid mention of those defectors from the FARC.
Despite the 2,200 km shared border, Venezuela and Colombia have had no diplomatic relations since Bogota recognized rival Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s interim president in 2019. Relations between the two ideologically opposing neighbors are extremely tense.
Bogota said more than 3,000 people have fled to Colombia since the fighting began.