Six arrested over drone explosions during Maduro speech

Six arrested over drone explosions during Maduro speech

Six arrested over drone explosions during Maduro speech

First results of the probe into the attempt on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's life indicate that the United States and Colombia were behind it, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Sunday.

Both the Colombian government and the Trump administration, who have adversarial relationships with Venezuela's government, have rejected Maduro's accusations.

He said one drone flew over the tribune where Maduro was giving a speech but that it became "disoriented by signal-inhibiting equipment" and was thus "activated outside the assassins' planned perimeter".

The incident happened when Mr Maduro was speaking at an event to mark the anniversary of the national guard.

State television footage of the rally showed Maduro startled by what appeared to be an explosion and footage later panned to soldiers lined up on a boulevard who chaotically broke ranks in what appeared to be a reaction to a second blast.

Maduro's government says six people have been detained over the drone explosions at an event in Caracas.

Hundreds of thousands have fled the country due to food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation that the International Monetary Fund says could reach one million percent this year.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and his predecessor Raul Castro "strongly condemn the attempted attack against President Nicolas Maduro", the Cuban foreign ministry said on its Twitter account.

"A flying object exploded near me, a big explosion".

"Justice! Maximum punishment! And there will be no forgiveness".

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, appearing on state television on Sunday, said the attackers were aiming to decapitate Venezuela's entire top leadership along with Maduro.

"We are determined, determined to defend our homeland, our constitution, our democracy, our institutions", he said.

Seen as authoritarian and repressive by his detractors, Maduro has relied heavily on the military to hold on power in the face of a crippling economic crisis and political turmoil. He accused the Colombian leader, Juan Manuel Santos, of being behind the plot.

One of the suspects had an outstanding arrest warrant for involvement in a 2017 attack on a military base that killed two people, Reverol said, an incident that followed four months of anti-government protests.

Colombia called the claim "baseless".

USA national security advisor John Bolton insisted Sunday that there was "no U.S. government involvement" and even suggested on "Fox News Sunday" that the incident could have been "a pretext set up by the regime itself".

In a statement, Denny described the attack as "horrendous", charging that it was aimed at destroying Venezuela's stability.

"After losing the vote, they failed again", Mr Rodriguez said. Maduro won a new six-year term in May but his main rivals disavowed the election and alleged massive irregularities.

However, Hasler Iglesias, a youth leader with the opposition Voluntad Popular Party, told the BBC: "It's hard to believe that the opposition is going to make an attempt when they have never made an attempt in this way in 20 years".

A mysterious rebel group also claimed responsibility for the alleged attack.

To add fuel to the confusion, local firefighters spoke anonymously to the AP, disputing the government's accounting.

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