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News: Opposition

Venezuelan Intelligence Official Arrested in Connection with 12 February Violence in Caracas

Merida, 17th February 2014 ( – An official of Venezuela’s intelligence service has been arrested in connection with the violent clashes last Wednesday in Caracas which left three dead, a Venezuelan newspaper has reported.

An investigation is underway to determine the exact succession of events which led to the deaths of two men that day: Bassil Dacosta, an opposition supporter, and Juan Montoya, a Chavista. President Nicolas Maduro has said that both were killed by the same gun.

The killings occurred two blocks from the Attorney General’s office in central Caracas, which footage shows violent opposition supporters attacking beforehand. The events occurred after a large student-led opposition march had concluded in the area, and most participants had already left.

The information on the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) officer’s arrest was given to private newspaper Ultimas Noticias by an unnamed “military source”. According to the information, the detained official was part of a group of SEBIN officers who ignored presidential orders to remain in the organisation’s headquarters that day. The source said the officer is called Melvin Eduardo Collazos Rangel, and was arrested on Saturday.

A compilation of video footage published by the investigation team of Ultimas Noticias appears to show at least seven civilians and SEBIN officials firing against a group of opposition supporters in the area where Bassil Dacosta fell. The video finishes with a list of “elements and doubts” which the team argues need to be answered to ascertain the exact sequence of events and to be able to identify who killed Dacosta and Montoya.

In a national broadcast last night, President Nicolas Maduro confirmed that a group of SEBIN officers had disobeyed orders to remain indoors on Wednesday.

“There was a group of SEBIN officers that directly disobeyed the orders of SEBIN’s director…to remain in quarters and not go out onto the street. I ordered SEBIN to remain in their quarters early that morning,” explained Maduro.

Maduro also said that the investigation into Wednesday’s clashes is “very advanced”, and is being directed by the federal prosecutor and the scientific police investigation body (CICPC). The president had previously released videos and photographs of the violence, which showed the attacks against the Attorney General’s office, among other acts

Published on Feb 17th 2014 at 12.34pm