Venezuela closes Colom­bia bor­der cross­ing


Venezue­lan Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro has or­dered the clo­sure of a ma­jor bor­der cross­ing with Colom­bia af­ter three sol­diers were at­tacked while look­ing for smug­glers.

Maduro late Wed­nes­day said the nor­mally busy bor­der in western Tachira state would re­main closed for 72 hours. He also vowed to mount a spe­cial mis­sion to boost pro­tec­tion for Venezue­lans liv­ing along the 2,200-kilo­me­ter bor­der, an area long plagued by vi­o­lence stem­ming from Colom­bia’s long-run­ning con­flict and the pres­ence of drug-traf­fick­ing gangs.

Maduro’s an­nounce­ment, dur­ing a phone call to a much­watched pro­gram on state TV hosted by Na­tional Assem­bly Pres­i­dent Dios­dado Ca­bello, came hours af­ter the at­tack of three army of­fi­cers while they were car­ry­ing out pa­trols in the bor­der town of San An­to­nio.

Maduro said that the as­sailants, who haven’t been iden­ti­fied, shot the of­fi­cers — two lieu­tenants and a cap­tain — from be­hind be­fore flee­ing on mo­tor­cy­cles.

“They were am­bushed by two mo­tor­cy­clists that we’re now look­ing for, even un­der­neath the rocks,” said Maduro.

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