Home>News>World>US>Venezuela: intense gun battles rage in Caracas between gangs and police

Venezuela: intense gun battles rage in Caracas between gangs and police

US
08.07.2021
135
Venezuela: intense gun battles rage in Caracas between gangs and police

Venezuelan authorities have closed roads in Caracas amid intense raging gun battles between security forces and organized crime gangs that analysts say are trying to expand the territory under their control in the capital.

Heavily armed criminal groups have moved in the past month to residential and commercial areas from slums in the city’s hills, and violence has exploded over the past 24 hours with firefights breaking out in at least five populous neighborhoods.

“State security agencies continue to be deployed in the areas affected by these criminals,” the interior minister, Carmen Meléndez, wrote on Twitter.

She said some highways in the areas were closed as part of the operation, and urged members of the public to stay at home.

President Nicolás Maduro’s government has not mentioned any casualties as a result of the clashes. Human rights activists in the area have said at least four civilians were killed on Wednesday and half a dozen have been wounded.

The information ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since January, gangs from the Cota 905 barrio have been trying to expand their territory into nearby areas including La Vega.

“We haven’t been running the kitchens at full capacity since January because of the shootouts nearly every day,” said Amelia Flores, 58, who runs two soup kitchens, primarily for children, in the area. “I don’t what happened, but in the past 24 hours the situation has exploded and the kids are traumatized.”

The gangs want to control one of the main corridors linking the capital with the west of the country, said a human rights activist based in one of the affected neighborhoods.

“It’s been the same conflict for months,” said the activist, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals.

Analysts say gangs in Cota 905 have been able to operate with ease as it has been a no-go zone for security forces due to a pact with the government to lower violence. Experts say the gangs took the opportunity to acquire military-grade firepower such as grenade launchers, assault weapons and drones.

“They used the space that the government gave them in the Cota to rearm, gain strength, and plan an attack,” said Alexander Campos, a researcher at the Central University of Venezuela who studies violence and politics in society.

“They are expanding from controlling the barrios in the hills into lower parts of the city,” he said. “It’s difficult for them, but they’re winning.”

Inés Candida, 56, lives in the middle-class neighborhood El Paraíso, just across a highway from the Cota 905 barrio. She said gangs had been in shootouts with the police every day for the past month, but she had not seen or heard anything like the past 24 hours.

“We are prisoners in our own homes,” she said by telephone, as unrelenting gunshots rang out in the background.

Reached by phone at a church in the nearby El Cementerio neighborhood where he and others were taking shelter, Catholic priest Wilfredo Corniel, 45, said over more gunfire: “It feels like we are in a war zone.”

Author:guardian

Актуальные новости

19.05.2021, 02:00
117
Happy News for Canadian Traders: BitBuy Offers a Signup Bonus
23.04.2022, 02:30
144
Fidelity Launches Multi-Level Learning Center in Metaverse
19.06.2021, 16:36
177
Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi hailed as Iran’s new president
15.02.2022, 12:30
227
Spanish Securities Regulator Warns of Impersonators Selling Bitcoin on Its Behalf
01.08.2021, 23:30
135
Promoter of Crypto Scheme Touted by Steven Seagal Pleads Guilty, Faces 5 Years in Prison
17.02.2022, 19:19
105
Cointelegraph releases Top 100 in Crypto and Blockchain 2022
11.06.2021, 13:15
144
Ex-Mossad chief signals Israel culpability for Iran attacks
17.06.2021, 14:37
158
Trump tells Fox News he ‘didn’t win’ election but doesn’t drop fraud lie
btc
$ 30293
-0.16%
eth
$ 2038.77
-0.42%
xrp
$ 0.423055
-1%
busd
$ 1.004
+0.31%
ltc
$ 70.18
-0.97%