Venezuela to charge 11 soldiers over 12 deaths
Venezuela’s state prosecutor said on Sunday it would charge 11 members of the military for responsibility in the death of 12 civilians following a security raid last month in the violent country’s coastal state of Miranda. Leftist President Nicolas Maduro last year launched a security campaign known as “Operation to Free the People,” or “OLP” to fight crime and gangs in Venezuela, which has one of the world’s highest murder rates. Rights groups and residents say authorities have murdered innocent people, arrested thousands, and destroyed private property without legally-mandated court orders. In the Miranda case, 12 bodies were discovered between Friday and Saturday in a mountainous area of the state, the state prosecutor’s office said in a statement. “The state prosecutor will attribute several crimes to the arrested officials, including the violation of fundamental rights,” the statement read, adding that the 11 members of the military included a lieutenant colonel.
The situation escalated further in September after antiIndia rebels launched an attack on an Indian army base in the western Kashmiri town of Uri, killing 19 soldiers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised “a befitting reply to those who dare to attack India,” and India retaliated by sending small groups of military commandos across the border for what it called “surgical strikes” on terror bases. India said a dozen suspected rebels were slain, which Pakistan denied.
Pakistan’s outgoing military chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, promised that “India will be taught a lesson.” The two sides then spent two months firing aggressively at each other. As days turned to weeks, villagers were evacuated from areas near the
MALINAU: Indonesian pilot Abdi Damain (right-lying down) is being rescued as they fly from Malinau to Tarakan in North Kalimantan. — AFP