Residents of El Manteco, in the Piar municipality of Bolivar state, demanded to authorities investigate the actions of irregular groups in the gold-rich area, after the latest massacre of January 16th.
According to El Pitazo, at least eight people were killed in a fierce confrontation between ELN and El Sistema, a criminal group linked to jailhouse bosses or pranes, as they are known in Venezuela.
“Thursday, this zone here resembled a battlefield, we do not know the amount of dead. And it all happened because of control of the area, of the mines, the guerrilla claims they will impose order on the area. But the hoodlums -local criminals- charge businesses a vaccine (extortion money) and there is a false peace, a negotiated peace,” commented one of the El Manteco residents who asked not to be mentioned by name.
El Manteco neighbors requested that the authorities investigate the actions of the ELN, because, they claim, that group controls the rural areas and vicinities of the Piar municipality.
“We have seen guerrillas sequester SUVs and trucks and force them to drive them around, pass by checkpoints of the National Guard like nothing, and the officers look the other way,” said another person from El Manteco.
About the massacre
On Thursday, January 16th, area residents reported a fierce confrontation between two irregular groups, one wearing ELN uniforms and the other one being an armed gang that controls the gold mines. And even if the exact number of fatalities is as yet unknown, they are certain that there were at least eight killed.
Local businessmen, farmers and residents of El Manteco demand that authorities regain control of the area and investigate the happenings. As of Sunday, several roads in the zone were still shut down by the National Guard.