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Venezuelan leader Maduro accuses Colombia of exploding drone assassination attempt

05 August 2018

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, security personnel surround Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro during an incident as he was giving a speech in Caracas, Venezuela.

Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro has claimed he survived an assassination attempt involving exploding drones.

Venezuelan officials say that President Nicolás Maduro has escaped an "attack" unharmed.

Venezuela's global government broadcaster, TeleSUR, said on Twitter that the Venezuelan government confirmed an attempted attack on Maduro. Maduro's speech was abruptly cut short and soldiers could be seen breaking ranks and scattering.

His government said seven soldiers were wounded in the incident, blamed on Colombia by Maduro and later claimed by a mysterious rebel group.

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The United States and other countries have expressed alarm at the loyalist structure propping up Mr Maduro, saying Venezuelan democracy was being undermined.

But Maduro himself said: "I have no doubt that the name (Colombian President) Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack". Soldiers at the military parade were then seen running away from an unconfirmed occurrence before the transmission was cut.

This year, Maduro brought forward to May presidential elections that - after they were boycotted by the opposition and key opposition figures were declared ineligible - handed him a new six-year term.

Mr Maduro is expected to address the nation soon.

But three firefighters at the scene, speaking to Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, said the explosion had come from a gas tank in a nearby apartment block.

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"President Nicolas Maduro asked me to inform the country about what is happening and extend peace to everyone", Rodriguez said.

The attack comes as the nation struggles with an economic crisis. "We didn't have success today, but it's just a question of time", it said.

"The right insists on violence to take public spaces that they can't win with votes", Diosdado Cabello, a high-ranking socialist party leader, wrote on Twitter Saturday after the apparent assault, which he characterized as a "terrorist attack".

Photographs on social media appeared to show bodyguards shielding Maduro with black bulletproof panels.

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Venezuelan leader Maduro accuses Colombia of exploding drone assassination attempt