Nicolas Maduro Venezuela says it's holding 18, seeking others over raid on base

Venezuela is holding 18 people -- soldiers and civilians -- over a raid on an army base a week ago by a renegade group that stole weapons, the country's intelligence chief said on Sunday.

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This video screen grab, posted on August 6, 2017, shows a man who claims to be army captain Juan Caguaripano launching his "legitimate rebellion" against Maduro's "tyranny," before his group supposedly raided a Venezuelan army base play

This video screen grab, posted on August 6, 2017, shows a man who claims to be army captain Juan Caguaripano launching his "legitimate rebellion" against Maduro's "tyranny," before his group supposedly raided a Venezuelan army base

(HANDOUT/AFP/File)
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Venezuela is holding 18 people -- soldiers and civilians -- over a raid on an army base a week ago by a renegade group that stole weapons, the country's intelligence chief said on Sunday.

An additional 23 people were being sought in relation to the incident, said General Gustavo Gonzalez Lopez, head of the intelligence service known as SEBIN.

He said that Interpol had issued its "Red Notices" -- essentially an international arrest warrant -- for some of the fugitive suspects. But Interpol's website on Sunday did not turn up international alerts requesting their arrest.

Among those detained or wanted were businessmen, union leaders and a journalist living in Miami, he said.

The August 6 raid on the army base in Venezuela's third-biggest city of Valencia resulted in two of the attackers being killed and eight detained after a firefight, according to officials.

The suspected chief of the raid was former National Guard captain Juan Carlos Caguaripano Scott, 38, who was captured in Caracas days later, Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said on Friday.

Just before the base attack, Caguaripano had appeared in a video posted online with more than a dozen armed, uniformed men. He said they were carrying out a "legitimate rebellion" against the "murderous tyranny" of President Nicolas Maduro.

General Gonzalez linked the suspects to Venezuela's opposition, which has organized months of protests against Maduro.

He said the base attack was perpetrated by six military deserters and other soldiers who had been dismissed from the army.

He repeated Maduro's characterization of the attack as a "terrorist act" rather than an uprising within the military's ranks.

The SEBIN chief said 21 assault rifles had been recovered, along with three grenade launchers, pistols, ammunition and military uniforms. He said a bank account "used to support terrorist structures" had been frozen.

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