Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro survives attack from 'drone like devices' armed with explosives

Standing next to his wife, South American leader looked startled before broadcast transmission was cut 

Henry Austin
Sunday 05 August 2018 01:29 BST
Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro survives failed assassination attempt using 'drones' armed with explosives

Explosive drone like devices went off as Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro was giving a live televised speech in his country’s capital Caracas, the country’s government said.

Information minister Jorge Rodriguez said several devices detonated near the socialist leader, but he was safe and unharmed. Seven people were injured, he added.

Mr Maduro was “fine” and continuing to work, he said.

The Venezuelan leader was seen speaking at an outdoor military event when the attack took place.

“To the conscious Venezuela, we are going to bet for the good of our country, the hour of the economic recovery has come and we need...,” he was saying before he and others suddenly looked up startled.

He was standing next to his wife Cilia Flores and several high-ranking military officials for the event. Ms Flores was caught wincing on film, and both she and Mr Maduro look up after an unidentified sound.

The audio was then cut off and the cameras quickly moved away from Mr Maduro.

The soldiers lined up in ranks then began running, and the transmission was cut without explanation.

More than 100 people have been killed in the South American nation in recent months during a series of anti-government demonstrations.

Venezuela is living under the fifth year of a severe economic crisis that has sparked malnutrition, hyperinflation and mass emigration. The opposition blames Mr Maduro for chronic food and medicine shortages.

Earlier this year a report by the United Nations human rights office said that government security forces in the country were carrying out unjustified killings without any apparent consequences, because the rule of law was “virtually absent”.

The report cited “credible, shocking” accounts of extrajudicial killings of young men during crime-fighting operations in poor neighbourhoods conducted without arrest warrants.

Security forces would tamper with the scene so that there appeared to have been an exchange of fire, it said.

The UN called on the government to bring perpetrators to justice and said it was sending its report to the international criminal court, whose prosecutor opened a preliminary investigation in February.

“The failure to hold security forces accountable for such serious human rights violations suggests that the rule of law is virtually absent in Venezuela,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights. “The impunity must end.”

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