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Wednesday, 25 November, 2020

Gold mine shootout leaves four dead in Bolivar state

National Guard and irregulars clashed in Bolivar state. After the shooting, the military retrieved long and short weapons, body armor, and cell phones from the scene, allegedly, belonging to criminal elements of the gang in question.

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By Carlos Suniaga.

Four members of an irregular group were killed when they confronted National Guard (GN) unit in the Angostura municipality in the state of Bolivar on Sunday, November 15, the Guard informed in an official report. At the moment, the dead have not been identified, but the GN indicated that they were Colombian nationals and were wearing military clothing.

Shootouts are part of everyday violence in the illegal gold mining area known as Mining Arc, which the Nicolas Maduro regime launched in 2016 without a veto from the opposition-held National Assembly.

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Slave labor, torture, kidnappings, ecological disasters, sex, and drug trafficking are also part of the dangerous mix in an area that comprises 12% of total Venezuelan territory, including delicate landscapes, the world’s tallest waterfall, a section of the Amazon, mighty rivers and national parks.

The clash occurred while officials were conducting an operation dubbed Macizo Guayanes, named after the massif rock formation that supports Guayana, the section of Venezuela that includes Bolivar state. The Guard said that the officers clashed with about ten men who were part of the irregular group: four killed and six fled.

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After the shooting, the GN seized three rifles, two pistols, three cell phones, three bulletproof vests, and a truck, all of which were in the hands of the deceased and their accomplices. It was reported that military operations in the area are continuing and that surveillance at checkpoints got reinforced to counteract possible attacks by this or other armed groups.

Except for the official release, there has been no pronouncement by any military authority in Bolivar to provide details of the group or the armed clash. The incident is under investigation by a military prosecutor.

In areas such as Tumeremo and Guasipati, miners have denounced the presence of alleged guerrilla groups that have control over several gold deposits.

Additional reporting by Carlos Camacho in Caracas.

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