Maduro drones on about 'assassination' attempt
After 'explosive-laden drone' escapes him during military parade, Venezuelan President blames attack on Colombia, despite rebel group claiming explosion
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he was "more determined than ever" after he escaped an "assassination" attempt using an explosive-laden drone as he gave a speech during a Caracas military parade.
The government said seven soldiers were wounded in the alleged attack yesterday, blamed on Colombia by Maduro and later claimed by a mysterious rebel group. "Justice! Maximum punishment! And there will be no forgiveness," he warned. Venezuelan state television images showed Maduro looking up disconcertedly in the middle of a speech having heard a bang, before members of the country's National Guard lined up in the parade suddenly scattered. "It was an attack to kill me, they tried to assassinate me today," he said in a state broadcast, speaking of a "flying object (that) exploded in front of me."
No drones could be seen in the television broadcast, which showed bodyguards jumping in front of Maduro to protect him. The broadcast was quickly cut. The government pointed the blame at "the ultra-right wing" - its term for the opposition. But Maduro himself said: "I have no doubt that the name (outgoing Colombian President) Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack." He added investigations pointed to financial backers who, "live in the United States, in the state of Florida... I hope that President Donald Trump is ready to fight these terrorist groups."
The Colombian foreign ministry denied involvement, saying the allegations were "absurd" and "lacked any foundations." A senior US State Department official said the White House was monitoring the situation closely. Meanwhile, a civilian and military rebel group calling itself the "National Movement of Soldiers in T-shirts" claimed responsibility for the explosion.
No. of soldiers injured in the incident
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