Colombia’s Ombudsman Volmar Perez said Monday that ten Colombian citizens were arrested on charges of espionage earlier this month by Venezuelan police, and not eight as previously reported.
Perez said that Dimas Orrellanos and Omar Rey Perez, furniture makers from the Norte de Santander department, were detained by Venezuelan authorities at the same time as the eight Colombians whose arrest was announced April 6.
Perez said that all ten Colombian nationals had been arrested on suspicion of spying and taking photographs of Venezuelan military telecommunications towers, roads, bridges and highways.
El Tiempo originally reported that the eight detained Colombians were family members who own an ice cream factory in the Venezuelan state of Barinas.
According to new reports, Orrellanos and Perez had been visiting the factory at the time and therefore had been arrested along with the eight family members.
The wives of the two men alerted police as to their husbands’ arrest, calling for the Colombian authorities to help secure their release.
Colombia’s ombudsman announced at the start of April that he had been informed of twelve more Colombian citizens who were being held by Venezuelan authorities on suspicion of having links with illegal armed groups.
The detention of Colombian nationals by Venezuelan police has caused heightened tension between the two nations. The Colombian government recently warned its citizens not to travel to Venezuela, due to the “risks” posed to them, whilst President Alvaro Uribe announced, in reference to the various arrests, that “We can not allow Colombians to be persecuted for their nationality.”