Venezuela says eight abducted soldiers rescued

Eight Venezuela soldiers seized by an armed group near the Colombian border have been rescued, said Venezuela’s Defence Minister Vladimir Padrino.

General Padrino did not give any details about the mission in which eight were freed, or of the captors who had taken them.

A group of Colombian rebels had said it was behind the abduction of the soldiers.

There have been skirmishes between the Venezuelan army and former rebels.

A group calling itself 10th Front Martin Villa said in a letter it sent to the Red Cross in May that it had seized the soldiers during clashes on 23 April in the Venezuelan state of Apure, which borders Colombia.

The group had said it wanted to hand over the “prisoners of war”.

It is not clear why it took another three weeks for them to go free.

In his statement, Gen Padrino said the armed forces were searching for two more soldiers but he did not give any details about their disappearance.

Venezuelan officials have been tight-lipped about the skirmishes in the border region, which caused thousands of people to flee across the border to Colombia.

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