Today: Saturday, 13 August 2022 year

Colombian presidential helicopter struck by gunfire near Venezuelan border

Colombian presidential helicopter struck by gunfire near Venezuelan border

The bullets near the Venezuela border have struck Colombia’s presidential helicopter. In nearly two decades, it was the first attack against Colombia President Ivan Duque.

Colombia head of state and fellow passengers were unharmed after an incident in the air, and authorities did not say which side of the border the shots came from. The US, EU condemned the attack.

Meantime, Colombia regularly accuses Venezuela of harbouring Colombian rebels on its territory. “It is a cowardly attack, where you can see bullet holes in the presidential aircraft,” President Duque said in a statement.

Mr Duque said he was flying with the defence and interior ministers and the governor of Norte de Santander province, which borders Venezuela, when the helicopter was attacked. “I have given very clear instructions to the entire security team to go after those who shot at the aircraft,” he added.

The two neighbours, Colombia and Venezuela, broke off relations after Ivan Duque came to power in 2018. The Duque government has repeatedly accused Venezuela of giving refuge to ELN fighters.

“We are not frightened by violence or acts of terrorism. Our state is strong and Colombia is strong to confront this kind of threat,” Mr Duque said after the attack on his chopper.

The border area has been violent of late.