BOGOTÁ, Colombia — Colombia is investigating a doable plot to assassinate President Ivan Duque that will contain Venezuelan nationals arrested whereas carrying “weapons of battle,” in response to a prime official.
With out offering proof or any additional particulars, International Minister Carlos Holmes posted a 90-second video on Twitter Saturday evening that mentioned Colombia’s intelligence companies had been listening to chatter about alleged plans to kill Mr. Duque, a conservative.
He mentioned the latest arrests of three Venezuelans who had assault weapons of their possession had heightened the authorities’ concern.
“With immense concern and the utmost condemnation, I need to inform the worldwide neighborhood that, in impact, for the previous a number of months intelligence investigations have been going down about doable assaults on the president’s life,” Mr. Holmes mentioned within the video, which interrupted the standard information lull on the finish of the 12 months within the South American nation.
The video didn’t say whether or not the authorities had verified the existence of a conspiracy.
Blu Radio reported that the Venezuelans, who have been arrested within the northern Caribbean cities of Valledupar and Barranquilla this month, had of their possession an assault rifle with a telescopic scope, in addition to a 9millimetermini-Uzi, ammunition and stun grenade.
Blu, citing unidentified sources, mentioned any plot would have possible had the help of armed Colombian leftist rebels or drug-trafficking organizations, and would have been timed to coincide with the beginning of the second time period subsequent month of President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.
There was no rapid response from Venezuela’s authorities.
In his video, Mr. Holmes appealed to Colombians to share any info that would have an effect on the president’s security. He expressed appreciation for the cooperation of unidentified overseas intelligence companies for serving to to guard the Colombian president.
Mr. Duque, 42, who took workplace in August, has been main a diplomatic effort in Latin America to isolate Venezuela’s socialist authorities as Mr. Maduro appears set to cement his maintain on energy amid a devastating financial disaster that has spurred tens of millions of Venezuelans to flee to neighboring international locations to flee widespread meals and medication shortages and hyperinflation.
The Colombian chief has been a robust critic of the socialist authorities of Mr. Maduro, whom he has referred to as a “dictator.”
The 2 neighboring international locations have had tense relations for years, with troopers and helicopters from the Bolivarian Nationwide Guard of Venezuela often crossing the porous border into Colombia.
Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and different nations have struggled with the pressure of hundreds of determined Venezuelans pouring into border cities.
Colombia, the US and different overseas governments say that Mr. Maduro’s election victory in Could amid an opposition boycott and allegations of vote-rigging was illegitimate.
They’re urging the embattled chief to name new elections wherein all of his opponents, a number of of whom have been exiled or banned from holding workplace, be allowed to run.
Mr. Maduro has been ratcheting up his rhetoric in opposition to Colombia in latest weeks, accusing his neighbor of plotting with the US to violently oust him from energy. He accused Colombia of serving to “terrorists” after an tried armed drone assault in August. Colombia has denied the accusations.
In a historic rebuke in September, 5 Latin American international locations and Canada urged the Worldwide Prison Courtroom to think about prosecuting senior officers in Venezuela for intensive human rights abuses, the primary time that member nations had referred one other member to the tribunal.