Venezuelan soldier killed in attack: govt

A Venezuelan soldier was killed yesterday during an attack on a military unit in the south of the country, the government said, blaming it on Brazil- and Peru-backed political foes.

“Early today, a military unit was attacked in the south of the country by extremist opposition factions, with a large number of weapons stolen,” the defense minister, General Vladimir Padrino, wrote on Twitter.

“It was in this terrorist attack that an army officer was killed.”

Local media reported that the attack took place in Gran Sabana, one of the main tourist areas in the country, in the southern state of Bolivar that borders Brazil.

The El Pitazo website said the attackers overtook the military detachment and a police station, taking more than 100 rifles.

Authorities have yet to confirm those reports.

Padrino added that several military and police units in the area pursued the perpetrators after the attack and managed to recover an unspecified number of rifles.

Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the assailants had been “trained in fully identified paramilitary camps in Colombia.”

They had also “received harmful cooperation from the government of (Brazil’s right-wing President) Jair Bolsonaro,” he charged.

Six people were arrested, Rodriguez said.

According to Padrino, the six captured provided “information of criminalistic interest” and state security agencies were pursuing their accomplices.

Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza added that those involved are based in Peru and called the Peruvian authorities “accomplices” for allowing the organization to operate “with impunity.”

“It is a coup strategy of triangulated governments of the Lima cartel to produce violence, death and political destabilization in Venezuela,” he tweeted.

On December 14, Venezuela’s socialist government accused two lawmakers of plotting a coup attempt against Maduro, with the alleged involvement of the opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized as interim president by some fifty countries.

According to Rodriguez, the plan, which included the taking of two barracks in the Sucre state, was part of an alleged conspiracy whose plotters wanted to extend to Caracas and other regions.