ARAUQUITA, COLOMBIA (AP) — Clashes that began over the weekend between Venezuela’s military and a Colombian armed group in a community along the nations’ shared border have continued, prompting more Venezuelans to seek refuge in a nearby Colombian community, international monitoring groups said on Thursday.
Colombian officials said more than 3,900 people have now moved from Venezuela to northeast Colombia, about 800 more than on Wednesday.
The children and adults are in eight shelters set up to host them. “It was reported that families continue to flee across the border in search of safety as the violence in the area has not completely stopped,” said Norwegian Refugee Council’s Country Director in Colombia Dominika Arseniuk. “People we have spoken with are terrified and fear for
Venezuelan Defence Minister General Vladimir Padrino López confirmed on Monday in a statement that the clashes began last Sunday. He said they resulted in the arrests of 32 people, the destruction of six camps and the seizure of weapons, but he did not name the Colombian armed group involved.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) told AP the armed group involved is the 10th Front, which is made up of dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym FARC. The fighting is taking place in in the border state of Apure, Venezuela.
“We have received credible complaints of abuses by the Venezuelan security forces against the population in Apure, including violent raids without a warrant, possible arbitrary detentions and theft of property from the population,” said HRW Director José Miguel Vivanco for the Americas.