- Additional reporting by Digital Desk
Venezuelan security forces have arrested eight people – including two alleged US citizens, following a beach invasion allegedly aimed at capturing socialist president Nicolas Maduro.
Authorities in the country mobilised more than 25,000 troops to hunt for other rebels operating in the country.
Socialist party leader Diosdado Cabello posted on his Twitter account a video of a Venezuelan identified as Josnars Adolfo Baduel, who was also detained, saying two US citizens were among those being held.
Mr Baduel is shown responding to a security official who asks him about the Americans captured.
Venezuelan state television broadcast the video but did not identify the Americans.
Footage has also emerged of one unidentified suspect being taken from a helicopter by security forces.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said authorities foiled an ‘armed incursion’ and detained two American citizens working with a U.S. military veteran in an alleged plot to oust him https://t.co/0ngHr7dQV6 pic.twitter.com/PpmeP9FRkm— Reuters (@Reuters) May 5, 2020
Following an Associated Press investigation Florida-based ex-Green Beret Jordan Goudreau claimed responsibility for Sunday’s operation - which Venezuelan authorities said left eight people dead - and said he was working with the two men in a mission launched early Sunday to “liberate” Venezuela.
He identified two former US veterans and said they served with him in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr Goudreau said the men were part of an alleged mission called Operation Gideon launched before dawn on Sunday that entailed landing boats on the beach.
He has said he signed a contract with the US-backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to overthrow Mr Maduro, which Mr Guaido has denied.
Mr Goudreau added Mr Guaido never fulfilled the contract, but the former Green Beret pushed ahead with an underfunded operation with just 60 fighters, including the two US veterans.
Attorney General Tarek William Saab said forces have arrested 114 people suspected in the attempted attack and they are on the hunt of 92 others.
Officials in Venezuela’s government accuse Colombia and the United States of organising and carrying out the attack aiming to overthrow Mr Maduro, but both US and Colombian officials have denied the Venezuelan allegations.
The Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Guaido, has denied anything to do with the former US special forces fighter.
Mr Guaido said he has “no relationship nor responsibility for any actions” taken by Jordan Goudreau.