A recent attack by Colombian criminal group, Los Rastrojos, on a military base in Venezuela confirms that the group is gathering strength in the country and will not hold back in its confrontations with Venezuelan security forces in order to safeguard its criminal markets along the border.
On October 30, between 70 and 100 Rastrojos members stormed Venezuelan military base La Mulata, which belongs to Detachment 212 of the Bolivarian National Guard (Guardia Nacional Bolivariana – GNB) and sits just 20 meters from the Colombian border, according to the official version of the event reported in La Nación.
Another report from the daily, El Colombiano, added that the attackers carried two AK-103 rifles, grenades, as well as long-range weapons. They also took the base commander, Sergeant Gerson Hernández Sanguino, as a hostage.
Hours before the attack, the GNB had arrested two members of the Rastrojos in Venezuelan territory. And 11 days before that, the Special Action Forces (Fuerzas de Acciones Especiales – FAES) of the national police arrested another six members of the armed group. These arrests were part of an operation to combat gasoline smuggling at the border and came at the order of Freddy Bernal, the new “protector” of the state of Táchira and a key supporter of President Nicolás Maduro’s administration.
These setbacks may have served as the Rastrojos’ motivation for the attack. The criminal group released Sergeant Hernández Sanguino a day later, on October 31, and returned the two AK-103 rifles they had stolen from the GNB, according to news outlet La Opinión.
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