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Maduro Expels Dozens of Officers From Venezuela Army After Failed Coup - Reports

© REUTERS / Palacio de MirafloresVenezuela's President Nicolas Maduro walks next to Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez and Remigio Ceballos, Strategic Operational Commander of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro walks next to Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez and Remigio Ceballos, Strategic Operational Commander of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces - Sputnik International
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MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro signed a decree either reducing in rank or expelling dozens of officers, including high-ranking ones, from the country's armed forces due to their involvement in a recent coup attempt, local media reported.

According to Gaceta Oficial cited by local radio, these measures affected the former head of the Bolivarian intelligence service SEBIN, Gen. Manuel Figuera, five lieutenant colonels, four majors, four captains, six lieutenants and 35 sergeants.

Lt. Col. Ilich Sanchez of the Venezuelan National Guard, who in recent months led the security services of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, is among those expelled.

READ MORE: US Corporate Interests Drive Media Bias in Venezuela Crisis Coverage — Analyst

Large-scale protests against Maduro began in Venezuela on 21 January soon after he was sworn in for a new term. Guaido proclaimed himself an interim leader of the country. A number of Western countries, including the United States, backed his claim.

In this handout photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, center, accompanied by Defense Minister Gen. Vladimir Padrino Lopez, left, and the Strategies Operations Commander, Adm. Remigio Ceballos, arrive for a meeting with the troops at Fort Tiuna in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, May 2, 2019 - Sputnik International
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Maduro, in turn, has accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Guaido as its puppet. Russia, China, and a number of other countries have voiced their support for Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.

On 30 April, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido urged Venezuelan civilians and servicemen to take to the streets to help depose constitutionally-elected President Nicolas Maduro.

In response, Maduro said that the commanders of all regions and zones of integral defence had reiterated their full loyalty to the people, constitution and homeland. The coup attempt turned violent and resulted in some 240 people being injured, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

READ MORE: ICG on Venezuela Discussed Developing Contacts With Russia, China — Mogherini

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