Venezuelan President survives drone assassination attempt

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Caracas, Aug 5 (IANS) Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has survived what he called an “attempt against his life” involving explosive drones, blaming far-right elements and Colombia’s outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos for carrying out the foiled assassination bid.

Maduro was evacuated from a stage on Saturday during a speech at an event event to commemorate the 81st anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard here after what authorities concluded was an attempted “terrorist attack against the President”, reports CNN.

Two drones loaded with explosives went off near the podium from where the President was speaking, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez confirmed to the media.

Just few hours after the incident, Maduro appeared on national television saying that as he was mid-speech in the event when a device exploded right in front of him.

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“A flying object exploded near me, a big explosion. Seconds later there was a second explosion,” he said, adding that he initially thought it was fireworks as part of the parade.

Maduro said the investigation into the incident started immediately and that some of those involved in the attack had been captured and charged, although he did not specify the charges against them.

The President also said that authorities were able to obtain evidence of the attack and said the investigation was in an advanced stage.

It was “an attempt to kill me, they have tried to assassinate me today”, he added.

“The preliminary investigation indicates that many of those responsible for the attack, the financiers and planners, live in the US in the state of Florida,” Maduro said.

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“I hope the (President Donald) Trump administration is willing to fight terrorist groups that commit attacks in peaceful countries in our continent, in this case Venezuela.”

Venezuela’s attorney general, Tarek William Saab, told CNN he ordered an investigation into the incident.

The Venezuelan government has long blamed Colombia for plotting overthrows and, and far-right elements in Bogota and Miami for attempting to undercut Maduro.

Ivan Duque takes over as the Colombian President next week.

The Colombian government however, has denied any involvement, saying there is “no basis” to Maduro’s allegations.

–IANS

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