A local Ombudsman’s office filed a complaint with Colombia’s foreign ministry after an alleged incursion of Venezuelan troops into Colombia, where they demolished three bridges, according to local media.
The incident, which allegedly occurred on 5 and 6 July in the municipalities of Herran and Ragonvalia in the border state Norte de Santander, involved Venezuelan soldiers entering Colombia and demolishing three bridges along the Tachira River, which forms that section of the border between the two nations, according to national Caracol Radio.
According to the Ombudsman’s report, the incident was, “the result of misunderstandings between citizens and the Venezuelan Army.” Also stated was the nature and location of the bridges, which were improvised “swinging bridges” and resulted in, “members of the military of the neighboring country crossing the border and harassing the [Colombian] population,” reports Bogota-based La FM radio.
The Ombudsman stated that 17,895 people who live on the border would be affected by the incursion, even those on the Venezuelan side as, the report states approximately 50 Venezuelan students who are enrolled in Colombian schools in that locality.
Jorge Armando Otalora Gomez, the national Ombudsman, petitioned the Ministry of Foreign Relations to, “adopt diplomatic measures that would safeguard the rights of these citizens, and avoid a humanitarian crisis on the border.”
This is not the first reported border crossing by Venezuelan armed forces, nor even the first reported explosion of a bridge along the border in the municipality of Ragonvalia. Then Defense Minister under ex-President Alvaro Uribe, Gabriel Silva and the Vice Foreign Minister Clemencia Forero wanted to present the case to the OAS and UN for violation of humanitarian law and as an assault on the civilian population of the region.