Two Venezuelan military personnel were killed and 32 Colombian “insurgents” captured in fighting on the border between the two countries, Venezuela’s Armed Forces said on Monday.
Venezuela’s military had clashed with an armed group near the border with Colombia on Sunday.
The Armed Forces said there had been “clashes with irregular armed Colombian groups” in the southwestern Apure state, adding that a major and a lieutenant had “unfortunately died.”
As well as the capture of “32 subjects,” “weapons, ammunition, explosives, war supplies, vehicles and drugs were seized.”
“One of the leaders known as ‘El Nando’ was neutralized,” said the statement signed by Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.
News of the confrontation was revealed by the mayor of a Colombian border town.
“This Sunday we were awakened, we residents of Arauquita, by detonations from the Venezuelan air force” that continued through the afternoon, the mayor Etelivar Torres had told local media.
He said that the confrontation had resulted in “a significant number of injured and dead.”
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro confirmed the clashes on public television but gave no further details.
A Venezuelan general living in exile told AFP the military had earlier attacked a camp of dissidents of the now disbanded Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group.
Colombia President Ivan Duque has long accused Venezuela of shielding armed rebels on its soil, a charge Maduro denies.
Last month, Duque launch a an “elite” commando unit to tackle Marxist rebels and drug-traffickers seeking refuge in Venezuela, eliciting an angry response from Maduro.
Despite the 2016 peace accord with FARC, Colombia continues to battle a multi-faceted armed conflict involving leftist guerrillas, drug-traffickers and right-wing paramilitaries competing for control of the lucrative cocaine and illegal mineral extraction markets.