Venezuelan state forces have made four illegal incursions into Colombian territory in the past six weeks, the governor of the border department Guainia said Sunday.
Governor Oscar Armando Rodriguez told newspaper El Tiempo that members of the neighboring country’s National Guard disregarded the two countries’ border in attempts to intimidate and extort members of indigenous tribes living on the Colombian side of the border.
In the interview, Rodriguez said the last illegal incursion took place two weeks ago when four alleged members of the National Guard entered Colombia as civilians and threatened an indigenous community living on the border.
Additionally, the governor said he has evidence that seven Colombians who were arrested on Colombian territory and taken to a Venezuelan prison in May were tortured.
The governor and other local authorities have said that members of Venezuela’s National Guard are extorting the Colombian indigenous in order to get their hands on revenue from gold mining carried out by the locals.
Colombia’s Foreign Ministry reportedly has been in touch with its Venezuelan counterpart to seek a solution to the alleged violations of sovereignty and the extortion of Colombians.
The Guainia department is one of Colombia’s least populated departments and located west of the most southern part of the Venezuelan border with Colombia.