May 4, 2020 / 7:59 PM / a month ago

Venezuela makes eight new arrests in alleged incursion attempt

CARACAS, May 4 (Reuters) - Venezuelan authorities said eight people involved in a “mercenary incursion” were detained on Monday along the country’s coast, adding that the suspects were part of a plot that the government said it foiled a day earlier.

The government of President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday said mercenaries had attempted to enter the country on speed boats from neighboring Colombia, an announcement that opposition leaders quickly dismissed as a staged incident.

A Venezuelan state television anchor on Monday showed photos including a shot of a group of men laid out on the ground with their hands behind their backs, adding that the group was were traveling near the town of Chuao area in central Aragua state.

The group was “caught by popular force, by fishermen,” the anchor said.

Aragua Governor Rodolfo Marco posted four of the photos on Twitter and said “the capture of these mercenaries was achieved through social intelligence and the civic-military police unit.”

The images show men lying on their stomachs, some without a shirt and others in shorts.

A police vehicle is also seen in an area near a fish market and in another image is a fishing boat.

Neither the official television station nor the governor offered more details.

Socialist Party No. 2 Diosdado Cabello posted a video of men in black with balaclavas pulling a man from a helicopter who they identified as part of the group captured.

Chief Prosecutor Tarek Saab said on Monday that five people have been detained for the raid in Macuto. (Reporting by Vivian Sequera, writing by Brian Ellsworth Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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