Caracas, May 4 (efe-epa).- Venezuelan authorities claimed on Monday that a “foiled sea invasion” at the weekend was part of a plan to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro.
Ten people have been arrested and eight were killed, all linked to the operation, according to the government.
Among those arrested were two US citizens detained Monday along with six other people in an operation of 25,000 troops deployed to “guarantee the search for possible threats,” said the head of the Strategic Command Operations of the Armed Forces (Ceofanb), Remigio Ceballos.
Two other people were detained Sunday, while another eight died at the hands of the state security forces, described by Venezuelan government as “mercenaries.”
In his first public appearance after the incident, Maduro claimed Monday that the objective of the mission “was to kill the President of Venezuela… to try to kill me.”
In his speech during a teleconference, Maduro claimed that the governments of Colombia and the United States were behind the attack, as other high government officials said the previous day, and assured there was evidence that the group trained on Colombian soil.
The president regretted that there was an attempted “terrorist attack” against Venezuela while the country has been in quarantine for 50 days and the world is facing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ceballos said that “every inch of our land must be free of mercenaries, paramilitaries and any other threat.”
That is the mission of the 25,000 military personnel deployed throughout the country, part of whom aborted the alleged maritime invasion in the state of La Guaira, near Caracas, which, according to the authorities, sought to end the Maduro administration, in power since 2013.
“We are going to carry out scrutiny operations across the country,” said the head of Ceofanb, who explained that all the sections of the Armed Forces will participate in this operation, which in turn is part of a series of permanent exercises that Maduro ordered weeks ago.
Soldiers will monitor the country by land, sea and air to prevent invasion attempts or intrusions that threaten national sovereignty, attacks for which the government of Venezuela accuses the US and Colombia.
As evidence of American responsibility, authorities reported that one of the detainees confessed to having worked for the US Drug Enforcement Administration and was expelled from Venezuela in 2005.
Added to this are two of those arrested Monday, who the government said are “middlemen” who “work with the security advisory” of US President Donald Trump.
The Venezuelan opposition led by the head of parliament, Juan Guaido, who is recognized by almost 60 countries as the interim president, rejected being linked to the incident, and described it as a “set up” and “false positive” orchestrated by the government.
In addition, he stated that he has no relationship “with any company in the security and defense branch,” after the Venezuelan authorities claimed that the US private security company SilverCorp took part in the attack. EFE-EPA