Venezuela soldiers abandon posts at Colombia border


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Soldiers from the Venezuelan national guard have left their posts ahead of an opposition-led effort to to bring aid into the country, Colombia’s migration agency said.

In a separate development, Venezuelan troops fired tear gas at people looking to cross into Colombia to work, the Reuters news agency reported.

Tensions have been rising over a row about the delivery of humanitarian aid.

President Nicolás Maduro said the border with Colombia is partly closed.

But self-declared interim president Juan Guaidó has vowed that hundreds of thousands of volunteers will help bring in the aid deliveries, which includes food and medicine, on Saturday.

Local media report people jumping the barricades to cross the border at the Venezuela-Colombia border, while opposition MPs have posted defiant messages on social media denouncing the use of force.

Mr Guaidó urged the military to allow aid trucks to enter, calling on them to “put themselves on the side of the people“.

He confirmed that “various members” of the national guard had left their posts at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge to oversee the humanitarian aid delivery.

Earlier on Saturday, two people were killed by Venezuelan forces near the border with Brazil.

Mr Guaidó, who is the leader of the country’s opposition-dominated National Assembly, last month declared himself the country’s interim leader.

He has since won the backing of dozens of nations, including the US. He has called the rule of President Nicolas Maduro constitutionally illegitimate, claiming that Mr Maduro’s re-election in 2018 was marred by voting irregularities.

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