VALENCIA, Venezuela — Soldiers battled for three hours Sunday morning against a small band of anti-government fighters who sneaked onto a Venezuelan army base, apparently intent on fomenting an uprising, President Nicolas Maduro said.
Troops killed two of the intruders, wounded another and captured seven, but 10 others got away, Maduro announced in his weekly broadcast on state television.
“We know where they are headed, and all of our military and police force is deployed,” Maduro said, adding he would ask for “the maximum penalty for those who participated in this terrorist attack.”
The incident happened during the early morning hours at the Paramacay base in the central city of Valencia. Residents who live nearby said they heard repeated bursts of gunfire starting around 4:30 a.m.
“At dawn, terrorists entered the Paramacay base in Valencia to attack our national armed forces. There are several terrorists detained,” Diosdado Cabello, a longtime government official and lawmaker who’s currently one of the highest-ranking members of Maduro’s socialist party, said on his Twitter account. “There’s absolute calm in the other military bases.”
A video showing more than a dozen men dressed in military fatigues, some carrying rifles, began circulating widely on social media around that time. In the recording, a man who identified himself as Capt. Juan Caguaripano said the men were members of the military who oppose Maduro’s government. He called on military units to declare themselves in open rebellion.
“This is not a coup d’etat,” the man said. “This is a civic and military action to re-establish the constitutional order.”
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