By Lorena Bornacelly.
Additional reporting by Carlos Camacho in Caracas.
The walking migrants who try to leave Venezuela on foot are facing yet another threat: Armed biker gangs bent on robbing them of their few possessions.
Particularly vulnerable people, such as a mother with a toddler in her arms, have been targeted by the gangs in areas where migrants mass, such as plazas or aid stations set up by neighbors of border areas.
“We had to ask for support from the police because it was impressive how they arrived with motorcycles and cars and went into the bathhouse to check the belongings of those who were taking a bath. She had to leave that baby on the grass to defend their things from those evildoers,” explained a person from the community to El Pitazo.
Approximately 25 people, including adults and children, were in the laundry/bathrooms when those who tried to rob them arrived. They were joined by those who live in the vicinity, who alerted that something was wrong while others called the police since a few meters away, there is a Tachira police station.
“They asked for their cell phones, said to give them pesos or dollars. That was going to be a big robbery. Thank God we were able to chase away them because the walkers already have a hard time with the uniforms that extort them so that others also try to steal them where they get a place to bathe,” said the person who preferred to keep his identity protected.
The policemen arrived, and the bikers fled from the site without managing to take anything from the people. The walkers all advanced to the next resting point in the area.
Not only those living in the nearby houses left, but also neighbors from nearby streets arrived to help the walkers. After the incident at the bathhouse, the walkers walked a little further and reached a field where they slept and offered them food. A little closer to that Colombian border.