Monday, February 19, 2018
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Venezuela 'crushes military rebellion' near Valencia

Senior ruling party official says situation under control at Paramacay military base as authorities arrest seven.


Troops in Venezuela have put down an attack on an army base near the city of Valencia, officials have said, shortly after a video surfaced of uniformed men declaring a military rebellion there.

Diosdado Cabello, the Socialist Party's deputy, said troops acted quickly on Sunday to quash the assault at the Paramacay base.

Military chiefs said the rebels, whom they described as "terrorists," were trying to steal weapons and that seven people were detained after the attack.

The armed forces "successfully repelled a paramilitary criminal terrorist attack, the 7 captured is giving information!" Rear Admiral Remigio Ceballos, head of the military's strategic operational command, said on Twitter.

The announcement came after a small group of men dressed in military fatigues, some armed with assault rifles, released a video declaring an uprising in Carabobo state, where Valencia is located.

In the video, a man identifying himself as Captain Juan Caguaripano said that any unit refusing to go along with its call for rebellion would be declared a military target.

"We demand the immediate formation of a transition government," Caguaripano said. He was flanked by about a dozen men in military uniforms.

"This is not a coup d'etat," he said. "This is a civic and military action to re-establish constitutional order. But more than that, it is to save the country from total destruction."

One witness in the area told the Reuters news agency of hearing gunshots before dawn.

The Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Venezuela has been rocked by a wave of anti-government protests in the past several months that have left more than 100 people dead.

The reported attack in Paramacay comes two days after government allies inaugurated a new legislative superbody that the opposition and dozens of countries denounced as a power grab by President Nicolas Maduro.

In its first act on Saturday the Constituent Assembly ordered the dismissal of the country's attorney general, Luisa Ortega, a vocal government critic.

The opposition is struggling to regain its footing in the face of the government's tactics and re-emergence of old, internal divisions.

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