BOGOTA – Inhabitants of the village of Majayura in the Colombian municipality of Maicao reported that troops of Venezuela’s Bolivarian National Guard, or GNB, had crossed the border and entered the country.
The commander of the Colombian army’s 1st Division, Gen. German Saavedra, said in a communique that the No. 10 Armored Group received “reports from the community that a group of approximately 15 members of the Bolivarian National Guard entered Colombian territory in the Montelara area, in the village of Majayura in Maicao municipality” of La Guajira province.
The report added that as locals described the incident, the Venezuelan military crossed the border “apparently chasing an individual on a motorcycle.”
The border crossing at Paraguachon, between La Guajira and the Venezuela’s Zulia state, has been closed since last Sept. 7 by order of the president of that country, Nicolas Maduro.
The document says that, according to local residents, members of the GNB fired “rifle shots” and then set off on “their pursuit in an off-road vehicle and penetrated about 1 kilometer (over half-a-mile) into Colombian territory.
According to the report, the man being pursued abandoned the motorcycle and ran into a house, while “the Venezuelan troops, after finding it (the motorcycle) and burning it, returned to Venezuelan territory.”
In that area, the Colombian army has a unit whose men “are stationed 3 to 5 kilometers (2 to 3 miles) from the border, on a mission to seize contraband,” who upon being informed of the incursion marched to the area where it allegedly occurred.
“Due to this incident the army high command ordered troops to remain in the town (Majayura)” and a detailed report on the incident was sent to the defense minister, who in turn informed the Foreign Ministry, the report said.
This week the Defense Ministry reported violations of Colombian air space by Venezuelan military aircraft in the same area where Friday’s incident took place, and also in the eastern province of Vichada, which borders on the state of Apure.
These reports came amid a growing crisis between the two countries, which began last Aug. 19 when Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered a stretch of the border closed in order to combat contraband and supposed Colombian paramilitaries, after which more than 1,000 Colombians were expelled from Venezuela.