Colombian Troops Seen in Venezuela

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 19 May 2008

Venezuelan authorities have sent an official note of protest to the Colombian regime after a Colombian military unit illegally crossed the border into Venezuela. In a bizarre response to questions about what the troops were doing in the neighbouring state, Colombian Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos claimed that "I have looked into it and they were not doing anything".

The incursion took place in May 16th when around 60 soldiers crossed the border into the Venezuelan state of Apure. Venezuelan authorities photographed the incursion before intercepting the unit, which was commanded by a Lieutenant Jhonny Ocampo Jurado, and forcing them to return to Colombia.

Responding to the Colombian Defence Minster's claims, Venezuelan Information Minister Andres Izarra said "It appears that Minister Santos is not well informed of what his troops are doing". The Venezuelan authorities also called on Colombia to "immediately cease these violations of international law and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Venezuela."

This latest incident occurs two and half months after Colombian troops illegally invaded Ecuador to attack a camp of the leftwing FARC guerrilla group. That incursion was widely condemned and both Ecuador and Venezuela sent troops to their borders in an effort to prevent further illegal incursions by the Colombian military.

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