Hitmen killed an army commander allegedly linked to irregular groups

Lieutenant Colonel Leon Ernesto Solis, commander of the Tarabay Fort, killed in an ambush, along with his bodyguard, Sgt Gustavo Flores, in Tumeremo, the heart of Venezuelan gold mines. Neighbors and opposition lawmakers accused Solis of working with guerrillas.

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The Colonel was traveling in his SUV | Photo by courtesy.

A group of hitmen ambushed Lieutenant Colonel Leon Ernesto Solis, commander of Tarabay Fort in Tumeremo, Bolivar state, along with his bodyguard, Sergeant Major Gustavo Flores, at 11:00 pm on Monday, April 6th.

According to the Scientific Police, the two officers were driving on the main street of the La Caratica sector when they were intercepted by an unknown group, who shot against them.

The two soldiers were on board an SUV owned by Solis, inside which the bodies were found. The armed group that executed the attack fleed, so there are still no arrests.

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“Around 11:00 p.m. we heard many shots, for two minutes, we thought there was a war in Tumeremo. Now the town is taken over by the National Army,” said one resident, who asked to remain anonymous.

Officers said that the motive was a hired-killer, however, they don’t know who could be responsible.

National Assembly deputy, Americo De Grazia, pointed to the 3R criminal group, which calls itself “the foundation,” and has been operating in the zone since early 2019. But the group posted a statement, denying to been involved in the murders.

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Complaints against Solis

The complaints and protests against Solis by the people of Tumeremo were constant.

Residents of Tumeremo complaints with the Public Prosecutor’s Office against Solis. Photo: Gladylis Flores

Residents linked him to the irregular group who took control of the gold mine in the zone, after ambushing against the band from a.k. The Coporo, in October 2018, who was the former leader of the mine. In that clash, seven persons from the inner circle of The Coporo died.

After that, miners denounced that they were taking out of the mines, and pointed out that the new irregular group took control of the area, with the support of Colonel Solis.

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In September 2019, a group of miners protested to denounce alleged attacks and executions by the military officers against those who tried to enter the mines.

We are starving because people here work in the mines, and we can’t pass,” Maria Farias, a Tumeremo resident, told El Pitazo.

Human Rights Watch, InSight Crime, and other analysts have pointed out the dangerous panorama in Venezuela, the Maduro regime, including the Army force, support the criminal gangs that control the gold mines.

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