A military-age male labeled as an insurgent was killed and an Army major wounded during a confrontation between officers of the Apure Integral Operational Zone and members of subversive groups on the banks of the Capanaparo river, Pedro Camejo municipality, Apure state.
The insurgents making up these subversive groups could be FARC guerrillas members, who fight each other for control of drug trafficking and other illegal business in the border zone with Colombia, sources say.
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The information was confirmed this Sunday, January 31, by an Army minute, which said the operation was carried out in the framework of the “Jiwi 2021” operation.
Major Angel Luis Ruiz Grau, patrol commander, was also wounded in the left hand and received first aid at the Pablo Acosta Ortiz (Hpao) hospital in San Fernando de Apure. The irregular carried no ID.
During the action, the military managed to locate a first clandestine landing strip of approximately 900 meters in length, one kilometer from the confrontation place, on the right bank of the Capanaparo river. At the head of this runway, perpendicular to it and approximately 200 meters away, they found a second runway.
Besides, a white Cessna aircraft, hidden in the undergrowth and covered with black cloth, was seized. In it were two cans of gasoline for airplanes. The plane was bullet-ridden.
Sources, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, indicated that the armed confrontation was generated by disputes between FARC dissident guerrillas, under the command of different leaders, who want to take over the area for the development of illicit activities, such as smuggling and drug trafficking.
The FARC’s Tenth Front, commanded by Fabian Guevara Carrascal, alias Ferley Gonzalez, is active in this border area and is vying for control of it against the Second Marquetalia front, commanded by Ivan Marquez. Differences have arisen between both leaders. Some FARC guerrillas members refused to accept the 2016 peace agreements with Bogota, and most of them remain active in the border region of Venezuela and Colombia.
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In September 2020, a confrontation in Apure resulted in four Venezuelan soldiers killed, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino admitted at the time, while sources say 15 irregulars (also suspected ex FARC) were killed in the same action.
After the deaths from the first lieutenant Augusto David Linares, lieutenant Miguel Angel Mora Garcia, first sergeant major Gabriel Alexander Perez Silva, and second sergeant Reiber David Chirinos Reyes, Venezuelan forces in the area were reinforced by an additional 200 personnel.
Before the deadly shooting, the Venezuelan military had been burning crops (supposed drugs) linked to the irregulars.