Venezuela Says 39 Ex-Soldiers Caught Trying to Enter Country

Venezuela Says 39 Ex-Soldiers Caught Trying to Enter CountryDefense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez gave no details on where or when the former soldiers were captured. Officials had previously reported the arrests of at least 40 people, including two Americans, as a result of the May 3 raid on the coastal town of Macuto.

Speaking on state television, Padrino Lopez said authorities assume the captured deserters “came to fulfil a task as part of the general scheme” of the thwarted maritime incursion, AP reported.

He repeated the government’s charge that the raid had “foreign financing, with equipment supplied by powers such as the United States (and) the government of Colombia itself.”

Mr. Maduro on Thursday claimed that “new mercenary groups” are being formed in neighboring Colombia.

The governments of the United States and Colombia, which are close allies of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, have rejected the allegation that they were involved in the armed attack. On Monday, Mr. Guaido announced that two of his US-based political advisers had resigned over their ties to the failed raid.

Two Americans were captured after the incursion along with eight other men, some of whom were described as Venezuelan deserters.

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