On Friday, February 11, Venezuela’s Sectorial Vice President of Political Sovereignty, Security and Peace, Major General Vladimir Padrino López reported that “the Bolivarian National Armed Force [FANB] has dealt heavy blows to the mafias and gangs that deal in drug and human trafficking, and which belong to the Colombian Armed Terrorist and Drug Trafficking Groups [TANCOL].”
He explained that it is due to the terrorist acts of TANCOL in Apure state that most of the FANB operations have focused there. TANCOL “is trying to secure that route [as their territory],” he stated. He praised the Strategic Operational Command of the Bolivarian National Armed Force (CEOFANB) for their commendable work in the 2022 Bolivarian Shield Operation, one of whose aims is to expel Colombian paramilitary groups from Venezuela.
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“The FANB deployment in Apure has covered 25,000 square kilometers with the aim of expelling the TANCOL from their drug trafficking routes coming in from Arauca [department of Colombia],” informed Padrino López. He further informed that during the security operations, nine terrorists were killed by security forces, while 56 were arrested and were handed over to the authority of the Public Prosecutor.
FANB personnel have also been deployed in the states of Amazonas, Sucre, Zulia, and Bolívar in order “to contain and evict all those criminals who permeate the border and move into Venezuelan territory,” stated the minister.
Since the FANB operations began, 16 makeshift terrorist camps have been dismantled and several vehicles, explosive devices, three aircraft, communications equipment, heavy machinery, weapons of different calibers, and 3,600 ammunition rounds, have been seized.
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Minister Padrino López also warned that these gangs trained in Colombia are trying to export the Colombian armed conflict into Venezuela.
“We have seen how there have been intentions to internalize the Colombian conflict in our country, to ‘colombianize’ Venezuela through a paramilitary war and economy,” he stated. “Venezuela is a victim of this violence” in the neighboring country.
He also informed that 1,200 kg of cocaine and 800 kg of marijuana have been seized during various security operations within the Bolivarian Shield Operation 2022.
Featured image: Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López during a press conference at Miraflores Palace, Caracas. Photo: Alba Ciudad
(Alba Ciudad) by Nadesjka Landaeta
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
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