Venezuela's Foreign Minister: Probe Into Attack Against maduro Points to US, Colombia


Signs of smoke cover the apartment complex where an allegedly armed drone crashed, causing a fire, in Caracas.

Six "terrorists and hired killers" have been arrested in Venezuela accused of trying to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro in an alleged drone attack, the government said on Sunday.

An assassination attempt against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was committed with the use of several drones stuffed with explosives.

"We believe that the regime will launch a fierce attack against the opposition, there will be more violations of human rights, and this gives rise to arrest, accuse and persecute the opposition within the country", said José Antonio Colina, president of Venezolanos Perseguidos Políticos en el Exilio (Veppex).

Two loud explosions sounded on Saturday as Maduro was speaking on national television at a military ceremony. Image: AAPGuards were quick to act in ensuring the president's safety.

Reverol says the explosives on each drone could have affected an area more than 160 feet (50 meters) away. One of the drones was to explode above the president while the other was to detonate directly in front of him, he added.

Officials say seven members of the National Guard were injured, three gravely.

The supposed attack happened on Saturday as President Maduro was addressing crowds of people on a podium alongside his wife, Cilia Flores, and high-ranking military officials.

Attorney General Tarek William Saab said the attempted assassination targeted not only Maduro, but the military's entire high command on stage with the president. Dozens of soldiers standing in formation were seen to scatter shortly after the explosions occurred.

The drones did not reach him, officials said, but it was not clear if they were shot down or exploded prematurely.

But Nicmer Evans, a former government loyalist and now leader of the opposition Frente Amplio party, said he feared the government's measures "open the door to persecution and a wave of repression".

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Witnesses interviewed by The Associated Press on Sunday confirmed seeing at least one drone apparently linked to an explosion.

Another resident apparently saw the same drone. One explosion was heard before Venezuelan state television abruptly ended its transmission.

"I can say unequivocally there was no USA government involvement in this, at all", Bolton told Fox News.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the incident took place shortly after 5:30 p.m. Saturday as Maduro was celebrating the National Guard's 81st anniversary.

"I have no doubt that everything points to the right, the Venezuelan ultra-right", Maduro said on Saturday night.

John Bolton, the U.S. national security adviser, has categorically denied USA involvement in the attempt up Nicolas Maduro.

Bolton spoke on "Fox News Sunday".

Maduro said investigations pointed to financial backers who "live in the United States, in the state of Florida".

He described it as "a crime of terrorism and assassination" and said that the "material and intellectual authors inside and outside the country" had been identified. The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), a part of the U.S. Department of State, reported that Venezuela was the second-most murderous state in the world - behind only El Salvador - with 26,616 murders in 2017 (89 per 100,000 people).

He asked Trump to arrest the terrorists.