Mérida, 14th March 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) –Three paramilitary groups have been captured in the Venezuelan state of Carabobo, following a series of deadly shootings during protests on Wednesday.
President Nicolas Maduro announced on Thursday that the paramilitaries had been allegedly operating in Carabobo's state capital, Valencia.
At least six people found with C-4 explosives and military grade firearms are being held.
“There are snipers who killed young students, motorizados [motorcyclists], two sergeants of the National Guard [GNB] and the captain that today we have come to honour,” Maduro stated.
The comments were made during Maduro's visit to Valencia to attend a service for deceased GNB captain, Ramso Bracho.
“He was proud of being a National Guard... he was a revolutionary captain and was aware of the risks he was [taking] defending the right to peace of the Venezuelan people,” Maduro stated.
Bracho was shot dead during street clashes with opposition groups on Wednesday.
Two other deaths from shootings were reported in the city on the same day; one was a student, Jesus Acosta. The other, Guillermo Sanchez was reportedly hit by a stray bullet while painting his home. There exist conflicting claims that either rooftop snipers or pro-government gunmen were responsible for the deaths.
Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles took to Twitter to hit out at Maduro over Acosta's death.
“How many more deaths and injuries, Nicholas? You in the government are largely responsible for the country's peace,” the former opposition presidential candidate tweeted.
Another death has been reported in Merida today. According to community television station TatuyTV, 62 year old Jose Vallardez died of respiratory arrest after being impeded by a barricade.
Today, interior minister Miguel Rodriguez showed state media weapons seized from anti-government groups, collected over a month of nationwide protests and anti-government violence.
“This is a display of the tools used by the 'peaceful' protesters of the Venezuelan opposition,” Rodriguez stated.
According to the state-owned news agency AVN, firearms, knives, improvised explosives and the C-4 were on display.
“Venezuela has been subjected to a form of violence that has been practised in other parts of the world with the sole purpose of overthrowing governments,” the interior minister stated.
Maduro has also announced today that the national government has created a plan to remove violent groups from areas hit by barricades. The president noted that middle and upper class neighbourhoods have been worst hit by violent anti-government demonstrations, stating that “groups of the right and armed groups have plagued the communities”.
The president didn't go into details of how the groups will be removed.
“We will liberate from the barricaders and criminals all residential areas of the middle and upper classes – which have been the principle victims of this coup [attempt],” Maduro stated.