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| 11/20/2009 12:00:00 AM

Venezuela blows up border bridges with Colombia

Nov 20--Tensions raised between two countries as troops dynamite rural walkways Venezuela claims are used by smugglers and militia

Venezuela has blown up two pedestrian bridges on its border with Colombia in the latest sign of deteriorating relations between the Andean neighbours.

Soldiers destroyed the walkways because they were being used by illegal militia and drug traffickers, said Eusebio Aguero, an army general based in the border state of Táchira.

"They are two foot bridges that paramilitary fighters used, where gasoline and drug precursors were smuggled, subversive groups entered. They are not considered in any international treaty."

However Colombia denounced the action as a violation of international law that would worsen the diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

Colombia's defence minister, Gabriel Silva, said Bogotá would lodge a complaint with the United Nations and the Organisation of American States over the "aggression".

"Uniformed men, apparently from the Venezuelan army, arrived in trucks on the Venezuelan side at two pedestrian bridges that link communities on both sides and then proceeded to dynamite them," Silva said.

The row renewed tensions that have bubbled for weeks, with Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez, recently telling his armed forces "to prepare for war" with their neighbour in order to ensure peace.
 
Read more here.
 
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