The Venezuelan government said Friday it has made 10 arrests for the killing of 12 Colombian soldiers near the border between the two countries earlier this week.
Venezuela’s Defense Minister Henry Rangel told state media AVN that 10 Colombian nationals were being held on suspicion of participating in an alleged FARC ambush on Colombian troops stationed in the northern department of Guajira, along the border. The attack killed 12 soldiers and left four wounded.
The Venezuelan army deployed 3,000 soldiers in the wake of the attack to strengthen security along the boarder and capture rebel forces.
Rangel said Venezuelan authorities are “detecting their relationship [to the guerrillas] to act according to law,” before complying with the extradition request.
“We have always been respectful of the human rights of every person in our territory,” he said.
He also said the boarder region was free from insurgents.
“Fortunately, we do not live with confrontational situations with irregular forces since they no longer exist in our country,” Rangel claimed.
He added that rebel groups who trespass the Venezuelan boarder would be caught with “the iron hand” of military forces.
Colombian authorities on Tuesday said the FARC troops responsible for the attack had been hiding in Venezuela.
The units had probably been using the neighboring country as their “home base for quite a while,” Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon told local media.
“We know that this arm of the FARC moved from Venezuela in order to attack our soldiers, and returned again to Venezuela,” Army General Sergio Mantilla said.