Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro asked the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) to work for the country to be declared in 2022 as a nation free of Colombian irregular armed groups.
“I set a big goal, but I know that you (the Armed Forces) will make it possible, 2022 must be the year in which Venezuela achieves a territory 100 percent free (…) of Colombian Armed Drug Trafficking Terrorists (Tancol)”, said the President in statements to the state channel Venezolana de Televisión.
During the end of the year ceremony of the military forces, the President said that during 2021 the Venezuelan military continued its fight against the referred armed groups coming from Colombia, which he qualified as enemies.
“All the Tancol, wherever they are, no matter what name they call themselves, all the Tancol are enemies of the Constitution, of the FANB and of the peace of the Republic and must be fought in the territory with all the military force of our country,” he said.
The President highlighted the importance of freeing the border populations from the action of these criminal organizations.
“The year 2022, the year of the total liberation of the territories where they harm the population and try to establish a base for crime, drug trafficking and all this type of malice, of delinquency”, he affirmed.
In March, there were heavy clashes between Venezuelan military forces and Colombian irregular groups in Apure state (south), leaving 29 dead, nine from the irregular groups and 20 from the FANB.
Meanwhile, three military personnel were reported missing and eight kidnapped and 31 detainees.
From that moment on, the Venezuelan Government intensified the security and patrolling of the border between both countries in Apure state and accused the Colombian Government of provoking a crisis on the border by allowing the action of armed groups.