Photo by Efecto Eco via Wikimedia Commons
Local media said that during the weekend, soldiers in Valenzuela clashed with some illegal miners in southern Venezuela leaving at least 18 people dead in a region that is infamous for gang rivalries and violence.
Justo Noguera, the Bolivar state Governor, confirmed that a military unit had encountered an attack. He told reporters: “I can’t give numbers because an investigation is underway.”
Correo del Caroni, the local newspaper, reported that one woman and 17 men died in the incident that occurred on Saturday morning.
Conflicts over illegal mines are prevalent in the remote, mineral-rich area that is near the border of Guyana, with a minimum of 17 people killed after a gang feud in 2016.
In 2016, President Nicolas Maduro declared that the area is a strategic priority, naming the area the Mining Arc and proclaiming war on the hundreds of illegal miners that are from Venezuela and neighbouring Brazil who attempt to make a living there.
Local media said that the army seized some explosives and guns during the operation last Saturday.