Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez (C) offers a statement of "unbounded loyalty" to President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on Aug. 5, 2018. EFE-EPA/Miguel Gutierrez

6 suspects in attack on Nicolas Maduro captured in Venezuela

President Nicolas Maduro was not harmed in the attack that took place over the weekend, although several others were injured.


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The Venezuelan government reported Sunday that it captured six suspects in the attack on President Nicolas Maduro over the weekend, a strike using drones carrying explosives that left seven people injured, three of them seriously.

The government added that the material and intellectual authors of the plot had been "identified."

"So far, we have six terrorists and assassins under arrest, several vehicles seized and several raids on hotels in the capital ... have been carried out, where important evidence has been collected," Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said in remarks broadcast by state-run VTV television.

Maduro was heading a ceremony to commemorate the 81st anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard when, as the government reported on Saturday, he became the target of an attack with "drones ... carrying an explosive charge."

The president - who was giving a speech at the time that was being broadcast on radio and television - was unhurt in the attack, although several others were injured.

The television images showed the assembled soldiers breaking ranks and running in panic after the drone-born bomb exploded, although teams of soldiers and security personnel did evacuate the defense minister and Maduro himself from the site.

On Sunday, Reverol said that "there is evidence" that the attack was a "terrorist" act and that the anti-Maduro forces have moved to a "higher level, increasing the spiral of violence" in Venezuela.

He said that DJI M600 drones were used and that they had the capacity to "carry large loads."

Maduro on Saturday evening accused outgoing Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and the "ultraright" in that country, as well as in Venezuela, of staging the attack.

Meanwhile, the Bolivarian National Armed Forces of Venezuela on Sunday declared its "unbounded loyalty" to Maduro after the assassination attempt over the weekend.

"Under no circumstances will we accept allowing national sovereignty to be harmed. We will remain unscathed and firm in the convictions that characterize us, supporting unconditionally and with unbounded loyalty our commander in chief," said Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino in a statement.

Venezuela is mired in a severe economic and political crisis, with hyperinflation eating away at people's savings and significant scarcities in all types of products.

For months, protests large and small that have resulted in dozens of deaths have been disrupting day-to-day activities, with the public demanding food, transportation, water, electricity, better pay and other basic necessities.


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