Latin America

Venezuela crisis: Army and police officials detained, activists say

Six members of Venezuela's military and police have been arrested, activists say, weeks after a failed uprising against President Nicolás Maduro.

They include an Air Force brigadier general and former police officers. The government has not yet commented.

Some of the arrests took place as UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet finished a visit to the country.

She called on Mr Maduro to release people arrested for peacefully protesting.

President Maduro has intensified a crackdown on the opposition since a failed military uprising led by opposition leader Juan Guaidó on 30 April.

More than 700 people have been detained in Venezuela for political reasons, including 100 members of the military, according to local rights group Penal Forum.

Air Force Brig Gen Miguel Sisco Mora was arrested on Friday in a parking lot in the city of Guatire, some 40km (25 miles) east of the capital Caracas, his daughter said on Twitter.

Navy Corvette Capt Rafael Costa was arrested in nearby Guarenas also on Friday, according to his wife, while retired Air Force Col Francisco Torres was arrested by members of the Sebin intelligence agency in his home in Caracas, his daughter said.

The other arrested included retired Air Force Col Miguel Castillo Cedeño, and José Valladares and Miguel Angel Ibarreto, former high-ranking officials at the forensic police agency (CICPC), Penal Forum said.

Skip Twitter post by @ForoPenal

ATENCIÓN: familiares reportan al FP la desaparición forzosa de:

Francisco Torres, Cnel FAV (R)

Jose Gregorio Valladares, ex CICPC

Miguel Angel Ibarreto ex comisario CICPC

Miguel Carmelo Sisco, Gral Brigada FAV

Miguel Castillo Cedeño, Cnel FAV (R)https://t.co/8R01XQ2M1n

— Foro Penal (@ForoPenal) June 24, 2019

End of Twitter post by @ForoPenal

Organization of American States Secretary-General Luis Almagro, a vocal critic of President Maduro, has called on the country's "dictatorship" to provide information about those detained, saying the "repression and torture must end in Venezuela".

Speaking in Caracas at the end of her three-day visit, Ms Bachelet called for the release of "all those who are detained or deprived of their liberty for exercising their civil rights in a peaceful manner".

Mr Maduro, whose government has been accused by activists of serious human rights violations, said he would take her "suggestions, recommendations and proposals seriously".

BBC

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