Caracas, April 5 2021: Clashes between armed militias and Venezuela’s military have been going on intermittently since the 3rd week of March this year, and on Sunday Venezuela asked for immediate, emergency from the UN to clear minefields left behind by these organized criminal groups from Columbia who are involved in trafficking and murder.
This message was recorded in a televised speech by President Maduro.
The official death toll on Sunday from the exchange of fire is 15 including 6 Venezuelan soldiers and 9 militia members described as “terrorists” by authorities. The military of Venezuela shared photos on Twitter.
According to Venezuelan authorities, the operation was conducted to defuse the possibility of armed militias settling along their border and potentially entering Venezuela territory.
In his address, socialist leader Maduro said, “We have dislodged (these groups) from several camps. They left a mined territory behind… We have lost several soldiers with these mines.” He also alleged ties between the groups and the Columbian army as well as the government of President Ivan Duque.
He added that the militias acted as guerillas so that the drug trafficking route can be secured.
The militias may be splinter groups of the former so-called Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia(FARC) which has since dispersed according to Columbian security forces. A peace agreement signed between the government in Bogota and the rebel group which ended half a century of conflict was formalised in 2016
Some guerillas however, don;t want stand behind that agreement and instead mix with and battle drug-traffickers in lawless parts of Columbia. Venezuelan President agreed it was possible that the militias may indeed be dissidents from the FARC.
Diplomatic ties between the two neighbours are in-existent at the time being and have been since Columbia recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as his country’s interim president in 2019.
While Bogota accuses Venezuela of harbouring members of FARC and another armed rebel group ELN on its territory. About 3,000 civilians have been displaced to Colombia since the fighting broke out, according to estimates in Bogota.
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