CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela’s defense minister said that “extremist opposition sectors” attacked a military outpost near the border with Brazil early Sunday, killing at least one soldier before being chased down.
Gen. Vladimir Padrino López said via Twitter that the attackers took a batch of weapons from the post, but that all the arms were recovered.
He said at least some of those involved in what he called a “terrorist attack” were detained and being questioned, while the army and other security forces were pursuing the rest.
The communications minister, Jorge Rodriguez, later tweeted that six people had been arrested in the incident.
Without offering any evidence, Rodriguez claimed that those involved in the attack “were trained in fully identified paramilitary camps in Colombia” and that they collaborated with Brazil’s far-right government.
Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, meanwhile, accused Peruvian authorities had allowed the attackers to organize. Colombia, Brazil and Peru are working “to produce violence, death and political destabilization in Venezuela,” he wrote on Twitter.
The governments of those three nations have joined with the United States and about four dozen other countries in deeming Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, to hold power illegitimately. They contend he won re-election in an unfair ballot that excluded strong opposition figures.
Peru’s foreign minister, Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, rejected Arreaza’s allegations. He said on Twitter that Arreaza was using “false expressions” to try to link critics of Maduro’s government to “incidents of violence occurring in Venezuela”
Since February, several hundred Venezuelan soldiers have defected and fled to Colombia, Peru and Brazil. They have expressed support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó and sought to feed discontent within Venezuela’s armed forces.
Maduro, who faced down a small military uprising at the end of April, continues to have the support of the military high command.