Prominent Venezuelan Rebel Might Be Dead Or In Custody After Shootout

Randolph Lopez
January 17, 2018

Venezuelan authorities said on Monday they had killed an unspecified number of suspects and detained five members of a "terrorist cell" after a shootout outside the capital Caracas.

Opposition lawmakers and human rights groups called for a transparent investigation into the deaths after video images showed Perez shouting over gunfire that they wished to surrender.

"These terrorists, who were heavily armed with high calibre weapons, opened fire against the officials responsible for their capture, and tried to detonate a vehicle in which explosives had been planted, with the regrettable result that two Bolivarian National Police officers died, and five were seriously injured", reads the statement.

In the footage posted on his Instagram account, Perez said he and his companions were surrounded and pinned down by police marksmen on a roadway at El Junquito.

Interior Minister Nestor Reverol in a press conference said seven "terrorists" including Perez were killed in the operation outside Caracas along with two police officers involved in the raid.

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The announcement came the day after President Nicolas Maduro accused neighboring Colombia of financing terrorism in Venezuela, calling Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos an "offender" and a "thief". His face bloodied, he said his attempts to negotiate with the authorities had been rejected.

"We dismantled this terrorist group that called to take up arms to attack the institutions", Maduro said.

'Venezuela, don't lose hope. While RPGs were hitting his home during the siege against him, Perez was able to record a video in which he is seen bruised and bleeding: "They won't let us surrender". In an earlier video, the former pilot states that the men are negotiating their surrender with authorities, and says that they are "here, fighting" for the future of Venezuela. "Now only you have power so that we can all be free".

He appeared with a bloody face in almost a dozen Instagram videos early on Monday, saying he was surrounded by authorities shooting at him with grenade launchers even though he was promising to surrender.

Though the fate of Perez remains unknown, CNN reported that an anonymous top government official had informed the news agency that he had been killed in the confrontation. Perez was the mastermind in the hijack of an official helicopter with which he overflew Caracas shooting at government buildings, killing two.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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