Anti-Maduro at­tack foiled

Two in­sur­gents killed in bat­tle at army base.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Juan Car­los Her­nan­dez

The As­so­ci­ated Press Sol­diers bat­tled for three hours Sun­day morn­ing against a small band of anti-gov­ern­ment fight­ers who snuck onto a Venezue­lan army base, ap­par­ently in­tent on fo­ment­ing an up­ris­ing, Pres­i­dent Ni­co­las Maduro said.

Troops killed two of the in­trud­ers, wounded an­other and cap­tured seven. But 10 oth­ers got away, the em­bat­tled leader an­nounced in his weekly broad­cast on state tele­vi­sion.

“We know where they are headed, and all of our mil­i­tary and po­lice force is de­ployed,” Maduro said. He said he would ask for “the max­i­mum penalty for those who par­tic­i­pated in this ter­ror­ist at­tack.”

The in­ci­dent hap­pened dur­ing the early morn­ing


at the Para­macay base in the cen­tral city of Va­len­cia. Res­i­dents who live nearby said they heard re­peated bursts of gun­fire start­ing around 4:30 a.m.

A video show­ing more than a dozen men dressed in mil­i­tary fa­tigues, some car­ry­ing ri­fles, be­gan cir­cu­lat­ing widely on so­cial me­dia around that time. In the record­ing, a man who iden­ti­fied him­self as Capt. Juan Caguar­i­pano said the men were mem­bers of the mil­i­tary who op­pose Maduro’s so­cial­ist gov­ern­ment and called on mil­i­tary units to de­clare them­selves in open re­bel­lion.

“This is not a coup d’etat,” the man said. “This is a civic and mil­i­tary ac­tion to re-es­tab­lish the con­sti­tu­tional order.”

Twenty men en­tered the base, catch­ing sol­diers on night watch by sur­prise, Maduro said. The in­trud­ers man­aged to reach the base’s weapons depot be­fore an alarm sounded, alert­ing troops to the in­cur­sion.

He said 10 of the in­vaders then es­caped, some car­ry­ing off arms, while those left be­hind ex­changed gun­fire with sol­diers un­til about 8 a.m. be­fore all were ei­ther killed or cap­tured.

“Today we had to de­feat ter­ror­ism with bul­lets,” Maduro said.

Res­i­dents who live nearby and saw the dis­si­dent group’s video on­line gath­ered around the mil­i­tary base chant­ing “Free­dom!” Other protests also emerged spon­ta­neously around Va­len­cia into the af­ter­noon.

Troops dis­persed the pro­test­ers with tear gas.

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