Venezuela to charge 11 sol­diers over 12 deaths

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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

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