Venezuelan Security Forces Capture Five Colombian Paramilitary Fighters

The following is excerpted from an article in

Caracas, Venezuela, April 19, 2005

Sunday morning Venezuelan security forces captured five Colombians in Venezuela’s Amazon state, who presumably belong to the United Self-Defense of Colombia (AUC). Commissar Victor Bolivar, of Venezuela’s national police, the DISIP, reported that the presumed paramilitary soldiers were apparently extorting local indigenous people of the Amazon, who they were forcing to mine for gold. The fighters were captured in a national forest preserve, where mining is prohibited.

The captured fighters were carrying seven AK-47s and over 2,400 rounds of ammunition, among other military equipment. They were detained without resistance.

"The first investigations and declarations of the captured indicate that these individuals were safe-guarding the area for the subsequent smuggling of drugs," said Bolivar. Minister of the Interior and Justice, Jesse Chacon, said today that Venezuelan police are now in the process of identifying the captured irregular fighters.