Venezuela arrests two for barracks attack

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Venezuela arrests two for barracks attack

Two renegade officers who attacked a Venezuelan army base last weekend have been captured, the country’s defence minister has said.

General Vladimir Padrino tweeted that the “leaders and masterminds of the paramilitary and terrorist assault” had been arrested.

The suspects are a 38-year-old former captain, Juan Carlos Caguaripano Scott, and a lieutenant, Jefferson Garcia.

Two of the rebels were killed and eight seized after the incident in Valencia.

Venezuela has seen four months of violent anti-government protests, and almost 130 people have died in clashes.

Just before the barracks attack, a video released on social media showed the uniformed men saying they were rising against the “murderous tyranny of President Nicolás Maduro”.

“This is not a coup but a civil and military action to re-establish constitutional order,” said the leader, who gave his name as Juan Caguaripano.

Venezuelan officials say Mr Caguaripano was discharged from the army in 2014. They claim he commanded around 20 uniformed men during the attack.

He then escaped with Lieutenant Garcia and some stolen weaponry, they say.

The 6 August incident raised tensions in the divided country, where critics of President Maduro say he is trying to cement a dictatorship.

Mr Maduro insists his actions – which include creating a pro-government assembly with the power to rewrite Venezuela’s constitution – are the only way to re-establish peace.

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