4,700 Venezuelans flee to Colombia amid military drive
Published: 12:25 PM, 29 March 2021
Venezuelans arrive in canoes on the Colombian side of the Arauca river after fleeing military operations in Arauquita, Colombia, on March 27; Photo: Reuters
About 4,700 Venezuelans have fled to neighboring country Colombia during the past week after the Venezuelan military launched a drive against armed groups near the border, according to Colombian government figures.
The operation began last weekend against fighters described as “irregular Colombian armed groups” in La Victoria, a Venezuelan town across the Arauca River from Arauquita, in Apure state in the country’s southwest. - reports Al Jazeera.
The Venezuelan defense ministry said on Saturday that “six fighters” from Colombian armed groups had been killed in the drive, while 39 others had been taken into custody.
Weapons, grenades, ammunition, explosives, uniforms, vehicles, drugs and technological equipment containing information on their activities had also been seized since Sunday, the ministry added.
Many Venezuelans, meanwhile, took boats to escape the fighting while some accused the military of “human rights abuses”, including the ransacking of homes and even extrajudicial killings.
A Venezuelan who arrived in Colombia with his pregnant wife and 12-year-old daughter on Friday told Reuters that the military raided their house and took everything from them.
However, the Venezuelan government has promised to investigate all abuse allegations.
Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters