Multiple arrested in alleged Maduro assassination plot

Security personnel surround Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro during an incident as he was giving a speech in Caracas Venezuela Saturday Aug. 4 2018. Drones armed with explosives detonated near Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro as he gave a spe

Authorities detained six people suspected of using explosives-laden drones in a failed bid to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, officials said Sunday, in what one witness described as a terrifying attack that shook her apartment building.

"That drone was coming for me but there was a shield of love", Maduro said on Saturday night. But the image of martial lockstep was quickly shattered when a second drone hit a building nearby, as scores of soldiers scurried away before the live transmission ended and switched to reruns about the South American country's auto census.

Reverol said the 2 pounds of explosives on each drone could have affected an area of more than 160 feet.

David Smilde, a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America who has spent decades researching Venezuela, said the incident did not appear to be a staged attack by Maduro's government for political gain.

In a press statement, the ministry said it "strongly rejects" the accusation of Maduro, whose country has been in an escalating political crisis between the socialist government and the opposition.

The United States on Sunday denied involvement as Nicolas Maduro blamed the opposition and Colombian counterpart Juan Manuel Santos for an alleged "assassination" attempt on the Venezuela president.

A bang is heard and footage of his speech shows the president suddenly looking upwards and dozens of soldiers running away.

Columbia said there was "no basis" for the accusation, while a little-known organisation called the "National Movement of Soldiers in T-shirts" claimed responsibility.

The explosion, which the government said injured seven soldiers, took place during a televised Caracas military parade.

On Sunday, White House national security adviser John Bolton said that the USA had nothing to do with the incident and suggested the whole thing may have been "a pretext set up by the regime itself".

Bolton told Fox News' Chris Wallace Sunday morning, "Well, I can say unequivocally there is no us government involvement in this at all".

He added that he had "no doubt" Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was "behind this attack".

The head of the assembly, Diosdado Cabello, tweeted that Maduro and the assembled military chiefs had survived a "terrorist attack" he blamed on the opposition.

Colina, a retired lieutenant in the National Guard, said there's real "fear" that Maduro and his allies will strike out against opponents.

"It's evident that the initial reaction of the government isn't aimed at attempting to clarify what happened but rather to take advantage of the situation and irresponsibly and sweepingly attack the 'opposition, '" the group said in a statement.

While denying any USA role, he said that if Venezuela had "hard information" of a potential violation of USA law, "we will take a serious look at it".

Maduro often accuses the opposition and the United States of working together to foment a "coup" to topple him.

Bolton said he spoke with the USA government's top diplomatic official in Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, on August 5 and said that Americans in Venezuela are safe.

Amid deadly, near-daily protests a year ago, a rogue police officer flew a stolen helicopter over the capital and launched grenades at several government buildings.

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