Venezuela’s defense minister announced Monday that he had ordered additional troops to the Colombian border after alleged “paramilitaries” killed three Venezuelan soldiers this weekend.
On Saturday, three Venezuelan soldiers died and ten were injured in an attack by an armed Colombian paramilitary group in Amazonas state. In an address on state television, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said that the attack was retribution for their capture of “nine Colombian paramilitary members.”
In a statement on Monday, Colombia’s Foreign Ministry condemned the attack on Venezuelan soldiers, denouncing it as an act of terrorism. According to local reports, the attack was carried about by guerrillas from the Marxist National Liberation Army (ELN). While Venezuela’s socialist regime enjoys warm relations with the largest Marxist terrorist group in Colombia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the regime does not share similar ties to the ELN.
“Colombia rejects terrorism and violence generated by organized armed groups such as the ELN,” the Foreign Ministry said. “The fight against terrorism is a duty of all the states.”
In his remarks, Padrino confirmed that none of the soldiers injured the attack were in critical condition but did not specify how many troops he would send to the border in retaliation.
“We will find the paramilitaries wherever they are,” Padrino declared. “For now I say to them: leave Venezuela. There is no space here. There has never been any space here for you.” He went on to criticize Colombia for being “unable to control its groups, its violence, and its drug trafficking.”