Authorities in Venezuela have suppressed a military rebellion near the central city of Valencia, a high-ranking ruling party official has said, a week after a controversial Constituent Assembly election.
Diosdado Cabello, the Socialist Party’s deputy, said troops acted quickly on Sunday to crush a rebellion at the Paramacay base.
Officials said the rebels, whom they described as “terrorists,” were trying to steal weapons and that seven people were detained after the attack.
The announcement came after a small group of men dressed in military fatigues, some armed with assault rifles, released a video declaring an uprising in Carabobo state, where Valencia is located.
In the video, a man identifying himself as Captain Juan Caguaripano said that any unit refusing to go along with its call for rebellion would be declared a military target.
“We demand the immediate formation of a transition government,” Caguaripano said. He was flanked by about a dozen men in military uniforms.
“This is not a coup d’etat,” he said. “This is a civic and military action to re-establish constitutional order. But more than that, it is to save the country from total destruction.”
One witness in the area told the Reuters news agency of hearing gunshots before dawn.
The Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Al Jazeera’s John Holman, reporting from Caracas, said a civil society group that monitors the military has raised questions about Caguaripano and the attack on Paramacay.
Citing Control Ciudadano, our correspondent said: “What’s strange about this man who speaks in the video, who says he’s a captain in the army, is that he was wanted by the government in 2014, also for trying to organise some sort of insurrection. So how is he free? And how is he once again doing the same?”
Venezuela has been rocked by a wave of anti-government protests in the past several months that have left more than 100 people dead.
The reported attack in Paramacay comes two days after government allies inaugurated a new legislative superbody that the opposition and dozens of countries denounced as a power grab by President Nicolas Maduro.
In its first act on Saturday the Constituent Assembly ordered the dismissal of the country’s attorney general, Luisa Ortega, a vocal government critic.
The opposition is struggling to regain its footing in the face of the government’s tactics and re-emergence of old, internal divisions.
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Source: News agencies