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Venezuela to try lawmakers for failed Maduro drone attack

AFP  |  Caracas 

Venezuela's all-powerful is launching proceedings today to try opposition lawmakers over a failed "attack" on Nicolas Maduro, who also accused exiled

called the session to strip the lawmakers of their parliamentary immunity so they could face trial for the alleged and failed bid to kill the

"When justice comes, it hits hard," Cabello said.

Maduro and his government said the had been targeted by two flying drones each carrying a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of powerful C-4 explosives.

But details of Saturday's incident remain unclear, with conflicting information coming from various sources.

The said -- including ex-president Juan Manuel Santos, who ended his term yesterday -- had collaborated on the attack with the "ultra far-right" Venezuelan opposition, and it was financed by unnamed figures in the US state of

No evidence was given to support the allegations, which have worsened already fraught ties between and

In a television and radio address, Maduro simultaneously accused and Borges of having plotted a drone "assassination" attempt on the over the weekend.

The president said several raids were underway as part of investigations.

Borges is one of the most prominent figures of the Venezuelan opposition and like Requesens a member of the (Justice First) party of former

said Requesens and his sister were "arrested and hit" in a sweep by the service unit. was later released.

"All the statements (of detained suspects) point to Julio Borges, who lives in a mansion in protected by the outgoing government of Colombia, we know he has the cowardice to participate in this type of events," Maduro said.

He also railed against Requesens, describing him as one of his "craziest and most psychopathic" adversaries.

Earlier, Requesens delivered a fiery speech in which he promised to keep pushing to get Maduro out of power.

"We are going to get to leave in order to get out of this tragedy," the 29-year-old said at the opposition-held legislature.

"We will be able to receive all Venezuelans who are crazy enough to return to the country, and for those of us who are here, we have no choice but to continue stretching this rope until it breaks and we can get out."

Shortly before the opposition crackdown, the legislature had demanded an impartial investigation into the drone explosions, and denounced the government's efforts to use the event to "increase political persecution" of the opposition.

"We reaffirm that Venezuelans' political struggle must focus... on obtaining free and fair elections with full democratic conditions under international observation," added the declaration read in the semi-circular chamber.

The loyal to Maduro moved to May the usually held in December, leading to Maduro's election until 2025.

But the opposition and much of the international community rejected the results as illegitimate.

On Monday, said several suspects were in custody and authorities would track down "all those who conspire against public peace."

He called the drone attack, in which seven soldiers were said to be wounded, "an attempted massacre."

said Sunday that six suspects had been arrested.

No drones could be seen in the broadcast of the event, which was cut moments after the soldiers were seen scattering away from where Maduro was standing flanked by military chiefs and his wife.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, August 08 2018. 16:15 IST