Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has survived what he called an “attempt against his life” involving explosive drones, blaming far-right elements and Colombia’s outgoing President Juan Manuel Santos for carrying out the foiled assassination bid.
His government said seven soldiers were wounded in the incident.
Just few hours after the incident, Maduro appeared on national television saying that as he was mid-speech in the event when a device exploded right in front of him.
“It was an attack to kill me, they tried to assassinate me today,” Maduro said adding that “a flying object exploded near me, a big explosion. Seconds later there was a second explosion.”
He said some of those involved were arrested and an investigation under way.
Maduro was evacuated from a stage on Saturday during a speech at an event to commemorate the 81st anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard here after what authorities concluded was an attempted “terrorist attack against the President”, reports CNN.
Two drones loaded with explosives went off near the podium from where the President was speaking, Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez confirmed to the media.
Maduro accused neighbouring Colombia and unidentified “financiers” in the United States, while some of his officials blamed Venezuela’s opposition. Colombia has denied any involvement.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that many of those responsible for the attack, the financiers and planners, live in the US in the state of Florida,” Maduro said.
“I hope the (President Donald) Trump administration is willing to fight terrorist groups that commit attacks in peaceful countries in our continent, in this case Venezuela.”
Venezuela’s attorney general, Tarek William Saab, told CNN he ordered an investigation into the incident.
Venezuelan state television images showed Maduro looking up disconcertedly in the middle of a speech on Saturday when a bang was heard, then uniformed members of the country’s National Guard lined up in the parade suddenly breaking ranks and scattering.
No drones could be seen in the television broadcast, which showed bodyguards jumping in front of Maduro to protect him with flexible ballistic shields. The broadcast was quickly cut.
(With agency inputs)