Venezuelans Support Military Operation In Apure To Expel Colombian Armed Groups

Venezuelans Support Military Operation in Apure to Expel Colombian Armed Groups

CARACAS (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 06th April, 2021) Residents of the Venezuelan capital of Caracas overwhelmingly speak in favor of the operation against illegal groups on the border with Colombia, which the national army has been carrying out for several weeks, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

On March 21, the Venezuelan authorities initiated Operation Bolivarian Shield 2021 in the western state of Apure, near the Venezuela-Colombia border in a bid to root out Colombian crime groups from the area.

"It is good that the military opposes groups that are engaged in extortion among the population of border areas, but there is a very fine line beyond which the innocent population is in the line of fire, and this should not happen," Miguel Cifuentes, a 37-year-old programmer, told Sputnik.

The state operation came in response to an armed ambush of a checkpoint controlled by the Venezuelan military in the La Victoria border city.

"This is usually in the news about Colombia, not about Venezuela - there are enough problems in the economy and politics here, and now there are armed groups. This is unacceptable. I believe that they should be expelled and the border should be well-guarded so that this stops, otherwise soon we will be kidnapped by illegal groups, as happened in Colombia," Alfonso Perez, a pensioner aged 68, said.

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez on Monday said that so far 10 militants were killed, six camps were destroyed, 33 people were detained, and 16 explosive devices were demined near La Victoria.

Caracas claims that the bandits intimidate the local population and use them as human shields. According to opposition media reports, thousands of people migrate to Colombia from the conflict zone. However, the Venezuelan government has not yet confirmed this information.

"I can't even imagine the horror in which these people must live, not knowing which side the enemies are from, that alone is enough. There must be other ways to ensure the safety of the population, both from clashes and from illegal groups, " Irma Rodriguez, a 56-year-old lawyer, told Sputnik.

Earlier this week Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he intended to address the United Nations for assistance to deactivate the mines left by Colombian armed groups in Apure.