Explosive drones detonate in 'assassination attempt' on Venezuelan president

He said one drone flew over the tribune where Maduro was giving a speech but that it became "disoriented by signal-inhibiting equipment" and was thus "activated outside the assassins' planned perimeter".

State television footage of the rally showed Maduro startled by what appeared to be an explosion and footage later panned to soldiers lined up on a boulevard who chaotically broke ranks in what appeared to be a reaction to a second blast.

Colombia said the accusation was "baseless".

But the National Guardsmen then scattered in panic after a second explosion was heard, the state television broadcast quickly cutting away from that too.

He did not name the suspects.

"This is an attack against President Nicolas Maduro", Communication Minister Jorge Rodriguez said.

A little-known group called the "National Movement of Soldiers in T-shirts" claimed responsibility for the attack.


Reuters was unable to independently confirm the involvement of the group, which did not respond to requests for comment on the arrest announcements, or identify any of its members. The stage where Maduro spoke had been removed. The drones did not reach him, officials said, but it was not clear if they were shot down or exploded prematurely.

The security forces later took apart the vehicle and found what appeared to be remote controls, tablets and computers, said the two, who identified themselves as Andres and Karina, without giving their last names.

In an address to the nation Saturday night, a visibly shaken Maduro recalled seeing a "flying device" that exploded.

"That drone was coming for me but there was a shield of love".

Police arrested the drone pilot, the witness said.

Maduro often accuses the opposition and the United States of working together to topple him.

Another of the detained people was previously arrested during the 2014 anti-government protests.


"We warn that the government is taking advantage of this incident.to criminalise those who legitimately and democratically oppose it and deepen the repression and systematic human rights violations", wrote the Broad Front opposition coalition in a statement published on Twitter.

Meanwhile numerous culprits identified by President Maduro have denied any involvement.

Santos, who is due to hand over power to the hardline right-winger and vocal Maduro critic Ivan Duque on Tuesday, had said this week that the Venezuelan "regime has to fall" and that he could "see it happening in the near future".

He vowed "maximum punishment" for those involved.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, an ally of Maduro, took the accusations one step further and blamed the U.S., Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence - calling it "Yankee Interventionism" - in a series of tweets Sunday afternoon.

On Sunday, White House national security adviser John Bolton said that the US had nothing to do with the incident and suggested the whole thing may have been "a pretext set up by the regime itself".


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