Updated 01:07 AM EDT, Tue, Oct 26, 2021

Venezuela’s Navy Patrol Exchange Gunfire with Colombian Police at Border, Investigation Underway

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Colombia will launch an investigation after Venezuela's Navy Patrol exchanged gunfire with police at their joint border.

According to a report from Reuters, a Venezuelan Navy Patrol chased a number of boatmen to the town of Arauquita, located on the Colombian bank of the Arauca River, Colombia's Foreign Ministry said on Sunday. The incident prompted an exchange of gunfire with the Colombian police. No injuries were reported.

"The government has been investigating the case since last night and has contacted Venezuelan authorities to clarify the circumstances of the event," the Foreign Ministry said, as quoted by the news outlet.

The Colombian government "has entered into contact with the authorities of Venezuela for the purpose of clearing up the circumstances in which these events took place, and to take appropriate action," Jamaica Observer reported.

Diplomatic relations between the neighboring countries are often sour, Reuters wrote. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro shut down several border crossings in August last year and deported thousands of Colombians, before vowing to legalize their status if they returned.

Colombia and Venezuela share a 2,219 kilometer (1,378 mile) border, Jamaica Observer noted. Maduro's decision to close the border was also a way to combat smuggling.

Last month, Venezuela reopened its border with Colombia in the state of Tachira, according to regional Venezuelan Gov. Jose Vielma Mora, a political ally of Maduro. The decision was done to enable students to study in their neighboring country, EFE reported (via Fox News Latino).

The governor said on state channel VTV that for the transportation of the youths to Colombia, the government has "activated buses that are now carrying students, because starting today they begin preschool, high school and university classes" in the country nearby, EFE noted. Education is being prioritized because "we remember that many Venezuelans study in Colombia and many young Colombians study in Venezuela," he added, as reported by the news outlet.

Maduro, however, stressed out that the remaining area of the border will remain closed until the activities of smugglers, paramilitaries, and kidnappers are brought under control, EFE wrote.

The reopening of the border in Tachira comes two days after Walter Raul Silva, kingpin of the Colombian paramilitary drug group Los Rastrojos, was killed in the area, EFE further reported. Vielma Mora said that Silva was slain in a clash with troops of the Dirección General de Contrainteligencia Militar, or DGCIM, unit and the Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas, Penales y Criminalísticas, or CICPC, Venezuela's largest national police agency.

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