Four ELN guerrilla camps have been identified in the Venezuelan state of Tachira, which borders Colombia, claimed the state’s Govenor on Monday.
The governor, Cesar Perez, claimed that there were guerrilla camps established in four of the seven towns in Tachira and authorities in the region are awaiting instructions from the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, to indicate the camps where there are believed to be more than 500 men, reported newspaper El Espectador.
Perez is one of Venezuela’s opposition leaders to Chavez, who suspects him of having links to paramilitaries in Colombia.
The Secretary General for Tachira claimed that the ELN guerrilla faction were responsible for 12 civilians, among them ten Colombians, who were found murdered in the region on Saturday after being kidnapped on October 11.
“Whatever their nature, these Colombian guerrilla and paramilitary groups must be subject to the law,” Perez maintained and emphasized that he asked Chavez to order to the immediate expulsion of these “armed foreigners” from Venezuela.
According to testimonies of those who witnessed the kidnappings in Tachira on October 11, the guerrillas “arrived in olive green uniforms, with clothing embossed with the face of Che Guevara.”
Perez also complained that due to his opposition to Chavez, the Venezuelan government disarmed all the police under his command and though Colombian guerrillas are not the only ones operating in Venezuela, there are the first to be “acting in the open … walking down the streets in groups of 80 or 100 … they no longer care about beng seen.”
Authorities are concerned that the guerrilla groups have intensified their level of intimidation over the last three months.