Colombia investigates plot to assassinate President Ivan Duque | News | DW | 30.12.2018
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Colombia investigates plot to assassinate President Ivan Duque

Authorities have said an alleged plot to kill the president may involve three Venezuelans who were recently arrested with assault weapons. Ivan Duque has been a vocal critic of his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro.

Colombia's intelligence services have been monitoring chatter for several months about "credible" plans to assassinate President Ivan Duque, Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said Saturday in a video message.

The possible plot may involve three Venezuelans who were recently arrested with assault weapons, he said, without giving further details.

"Intelligence investigations into possible attacks have been going on for several months," Trujillo said. "Added to that is the recent capture of three Venezuelan citizens found in possession of weapons of war, which further increases concerns."

Two of the Venezuelan men were captured on December 21 on a bus in the northern city of Valledupar, Reuters news agency reported, citing unnamed police and military sources. The third, also armed, was arrested days later. Weapons found on the men included an assault rifle with a telescopic scope as well as a 9-mm mini-Uzi, ammunition and a stun grenade.

Security for Duque has been increased with the help of the United States, the United Kingdom and Israel, Reuters reported.

Read more: Colombia's delicate peace process: An overview

Maduro critic

The right-wing Duque, who took office in August, has been a strong critic of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro and his socialist government, calling him a dictator. He has been leading a diplomatic effort in Latin America to isolate the government in Caracas.

Maduro accused Colombia of helping "terrorists" after an attempted armed drone attack in early August. Colombia has rejected the accusations.

In recent years, Colombia has witnessed a massive influx of Venezuelans fleeing food and medicine shortages amid the country's economic crisis.

ap/cmk (AP, Reuters)

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