Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Venezuela set to ask UN for aid in demining Colombia border

Venezuela set to ask UN for aid in demining Colombia border

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a broadcast message at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas on Sunday. VENEZUELAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE/AFP

Venezuela set to ask UN for aid in demining Colombia border

Venezuela announced on April 4 that it will request “immediate aid” from the UN to clear antipersonnel mines that Caracas alleges were placed in the southeast of the country by Colombian armed groups.

Clashes between Venezuela’s military and armed groups have occurred near the border with Colombia since March 21.

Venezuela is preparing “to ask for immediate emergency aid from the UN . . . to defuse minefields left by these illegal groups of murderers and drug traffickers from Colombia”, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said in a televised speech.

According to Caracas’ official toll, 15 people – six Venezuelan soldiers and nine members of the armed groups described as “terrorists” by authorities – were killed on April 4, while the Venezuelan military posted photos of artillery fire on Twitter.

More than 30 people have also been arrested, and weapons, explosives and drugs seized since the start of the fighting intended, according to Caracas, to prevent Colombian armed groups settled along the border from entering Venezuelan territory.

“We have dislodged [these groups] from several camps. They left a mined territory behind . . . We have lost several soldiers with these mines,” Maduro said.

The socialist leader again accused the groups of ties “to the Colombian army and the government of Ivan Duque”, the Colombian president.

“They are dressed as guerrillas to serve the drug trafficking routes,” Maduro added.

Security sources in Colombia say the “armed groups” are dissidents of the now-disbanded Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group.

The FARC signed a historic peace agreement with Bogota in 2016 to end a half century of armed conflict.

But some guerrilla fighters refused to join the peace process and have continued their struggle, while also mixing with and battling drug-traffickers in lawless areas of Colombia, including close to the Venezuelan border.

Maduro has acknowledged that it was possible the groups were FARC dissidents.

Diplomatic relations between the neighbouring South American nations have been nonexistent since Colombia recognised Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as his country’s interim president in 2019.

Bogota has also long accused Venezuela of shielding members of FARC and armed rebel group ELN on its soil, a charge Maduro denies.

More than 3,000 people have fled to Colombia since the fighting broke out, according to Bogota.


  • Bareknuckle champion wants Kun Khmer fighter

    Dave Leduc, who is the current openweight Lethwei boxing champion in Myanmar, has announced that he will travel to Cambodia this year to challenge SEA Games gold medallist Prum Samnang any time that is convenient, after their planned match later this month in Slovakia was

  • Five-year-old Hanuman dances his way into hearts of Cambodia

    A young talent from a new-established settlement has emerged, captivating the online world with his mesmerising performances of the traditional Cambodian monkey dance. Roeun Kakada is a five-year-old prodigy who has taken the social media sphere by storm with his exceptional dance skills and dedication

  • Fresh Covid warnings as Thai hospital fills

    A senior health official reminds the public to remain vigilant, as neighbouring countries experience an increase in Covid-19 cases, with the latest surge appearing to be a result of the Omicron XBB.1.5 sub-variant. Or Vandine, secretary of state and spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health,

  • Honda shutters Siem Reap football club

    Japanese football legend Keisuke Honda, the owner of Siem Reap football club Soltilo Angkor FC, has been forced to shut the club down, after it failed to attract sponsorship for the upcoming season. Honda, the former manager of the Cambodia men's national football team, said

  • PM declares ASEAN Para Games open

    The 12th ASEAN Para Games officially kicked off on the evening of June 3 at Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, with a spectacular opening ceremony featuring fireworks and performances by some of the Kingdom’s most accomplished talents. Tens of thousands of sports fans

  • Hun Sen warns of regional tensions

    ASIA is becoming a dangerous geopolitical hotspot, with several countries announcing that they intend to send naval vessels towards Southeast Asia and on to the South China Sea, warned Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Heated geopolitical issues can easily escalate, namely to war. I am not