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Venezuela Declares Martial Law at Colombian Border


Venezuela has declared a state of emergency in a border region near Colombia following an attack by smugglers in which three soldiers and a civilian were injured.

President Nicolas Maduro said there would be 60 days of martial law in five municipalities of the state of Tachira.

He also said the closure of the border, announced on August 20, will be extended until further notice.

Petrol and food smugglers have increasingly clashed with officers.Venezuela martial law Colombia border

Nicolas Maduro said Colombian paramilitary groups regularly travel to Venezuela, generating chaos and shortages in order to destabilise the revolution.

He said an extra 1,500 soldiers had arrived to reinforce the area.

“This decree provides ample power to civil and military authorities to restore peace,” Nicolas Maduro said in a broadcast on state TV.

On August 19, three Venezuelan army officers and a civilian were injured in riots with Colombian smugglers.

Venezuela closed its border with Colombia for the first time last year.

Without making direct reference to Nicolas Maduro’s recent statement, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Venezuelan citizens were “always welcome”.

Tensions run high along the porous 1,370-mile border.

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