Venezuelan army kills 6 Colombian criminals on the border
Venezuela reports the death of six members of the Colombian criminal gang 'Los Rastrojos' during a clash in Táchira, bordering Colombia.
The commander of the Venezuelan army, Major General Jesus Suarez Chourio, announced Saturday that the incident occurred during a scouting and patrol operation on plans to protect the border between Venezuela and Colombia.
"In this patrol we found a group that generated violence, called 'Los Rastrojos'. This confrontation was raised resulting in six people killed and the capture of a citizen, who is contributing valuable information to clarify this fact and reach the connection in Venezuela of these irregulars ", explained the Venezuelan general in statements to the state channel VTV.
He also said that during the clashes two army soldiers were also injured, identified as captain José Mantilla Romero and Lieutenant Alcides Rafael Subero.
According to Suárez Chourio, the operation resulted in the seizure of about 500 cartridges of ammunition, seven campaign teams, and quartermaster material including a Colombian army uniform.
According to local sources, the band 'Los Rastrojos' emerged in Colombian territory after the demobilization of the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), and came to be considered one of the main criminal groups, but according to the authorities of that country was dismantled in 2016.
The incident coincides with the celebration of military exercises ordered by President Nicolás Maduro before "the military threat" and the US sanctions against Venezuela, but General Suárez Chourio did not tie it with the maneuvers realized Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 of August.
Saturday's clash comes amid tensions between Caracas and Bogota, after Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos's government ignored the Constituent National Assembly (ANC) that fueled Maduro and has ruled Venezuela since Aug. 4.
Colombia also granted asylum to six Venezuelan magistrates who fled their country after the arrest warrant issued against them by the Bolivarian authorities.