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Venezuela closes part of border after attack wounds 4


President Nicolas MaduroVenezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has ordered part of frontier with Colombia closed after four people were wounded in an overnight attack along the border.

Speaking late Wednesday on state-run VTV television, Maduro said two men on motorcycles had attacked soldiers involved in anti-smuggling operations along the northwestern border with Colombia.

Regional officials said three soldiers and a civilian were wounded in the attack which took place in Tachira state. Maduro said one soldier was seriously hurt.

In the wake of the attack, the Venezuelan president ordered two sections of the border closed for 72 hours.

The attackers have yet to be identified.

Maduro and state governor Jose Vielma blamed the attack – the second in Tachira in a month – on paramilitary groups and smugglers.

The president said special troops would be deployed to arrest the attackers, adding that he expected cooperation of Colombia if the suspects had fled there.

Venezuela and Colombia share a 2,200-kilometer (1,400-mile) porous border along which there is a great deal of guerrilla and smuggling activity.

Smugglers are drawn by Venezuela’s heavily-subsidized economy and shortage of basic goods.

By purchasing products in Venezuela and reselling them in Colombia, they can make a profit margins of some 3,000 percent, experts say.

Venezuela faces major shortages as the country suffers from plummeting oil prices and soaring inflation.

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