Venezuela says 8 soldiers captured in combat with Colombia

TEHRAN, May 16 (MNA) – Venezuelan Minister of Defense said that eight troops were captured during the fighting with irregular Colombian armed groups.

The diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Colombia have been strained for decades, with the two countries accusing one another of providing funding and support to insurgents or terrorists seeking to topple one another's government.

Eight Venezuelan soldiers have been captured during fighting with irregular Colombian armed groups in the border state of Apure, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino announced on Saturday.

"Eight of our military professionals were captured during combat operations. We received evidence that they are alive. In response to this situation, we denounce the criminal kidnapping of these soldiers before the international community, unilateral bodies, human rights organizations, and demand that their captors, who are holding them illegally, preserve their lives and bodily integrity," Padrino said in a television address. Sputnik news agency reported.

The defense minister accused the insurgents of using "murderous and cowardly methods," including the planting of antipersonnel mines and the use of remotely detonated explosives, which he said has killed numerous Venezuelan soldiers and seriously injured others.

Padrino indicated that Caracas has made contact with the insurgents to ensure the captured troops' prompt release, and said that the authorities were coordinating with the Red Cross to serve as an intermediary. He promised the soldiers' families that the military would "spare no effort and exhaust all possible means to recover [the troops] safely."

The minister went on to blast the Colombian government for its alleged "inaction" and "acquiescence" to the gangs' actions, allowing them to carry out their crimes in the border area. "In this regard, some countries have already expressed their deep concern due to the regional instability that the armed violence employed by these criminal gangs can generate on the Colombian-Venezuelan border," he said.


News Code 173490


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