Venezuelan security forces are sending death squads to murder young men and stage the scenes to make it look like the victims who were resisted, arrested, according to UN news report on Friday.

The Thursday report which was issued by UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has accused the Venezuela government of using a strategy of instilling fear in its population to retain power and removing opponents with a “shocking” number of alleged extrajudicial killings.

“They would separate young men from other family members before shooting them,” the report further said.

“The killings were part of a strategy by the government of President Nicolas Maduro aimed at “neutralizing, repressing and criminalizing political opponents and people critical of the government”, which accelerated since 2016,” the report added.

“I had the government’s commitment to work with the United Nations to resolve some of the thorniest issues, including the use of torture and access to justice, and to allow full access to detention facilities,” Bachelet said in a statement.

“I sincerely hope the authorities will take a close look at all the information included in this report and will follow its recommendations. We should all be able to agree that all Venezuelans deserve a better life,” she added.

UN also released a written response to its findings by Venezuela’s government, which called the report a “selective and openly partial vision” about the human rights situation in the South American country.

Venezuela’s government slammed the report as “distorted and biased”, the BBC reported.

Government figures showed deaths ascribed to criminals resisting arrest numbered 5,287 in 2018 and 1,569 by May 19, 2019.

However, the UN report suggested that many of these deaths were actually extrajudicial executions.

UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet visited Venezuela last month and will present the report to the UN Human Rights Council on Friday.