Venezuelan military forces announced the discovery of three abandoned light combat boats "identified with emblems of the Colombian Navy" on Saturday, according to a Defence Ministry statement.
The boats were discovered during a patrol of the Orinoco river by the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) conducted as part of an operation to ensure Venezuela's "freedom and sovereignty". Venezuelan military forces did not find any crew, but discovered ammunition and weapons still on board.
Venezuela : 3 bateaux militaires de l'armée colombienne abandonnés auraient été trouvés aujourd'hui sur la rivière Orénoque entre Bolivar et Apure par la Garde nationale bolivarienne (GNB) avec des armes et des munitions toujours à bord " pic.twitter.com/A846bUosXa— Rebecca Rambar (@RebeccaRambar) May 9, 2020
The tweet reads: "Venezuela: 3 abandoned Colombian army military boats were reportedly found today on the Orinoco river between Bolivar and Apure by the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB) with weapons and ammunition still on board".
En el marco de la #operacionnegroprimero la @ArmadaFANB a orden del CEOFANB, continúa con el Patrullaje por las Costas Venezolanas a fin de detectar grupos de mercenarios y terroristas para su captura. @NicolasMaduro @vladimirpadrino @CeballosIchaso pic.twitter.com/bcL9vDq6is— Armada Bolivariana (@ArmadaFANB) May 8, 2020
No comments from Colombia followed the Venezuelan statement.
The invasion took place on 3 May and came from the Colombian territory, according to Venezuela. This was also confirmed in the testimony of Airan Berry, one of two US citizen mercenaries captured during the incursion. Berry readily admitted flying to Colombia in January and training a group of mercenaries and then arriving to Caracas to kidnap Maduro and transfer him to the United States in exchange for a ransom offered by the US State department.
The mercenaries, during interrogation videos, displayed what they claim is a contract signed by the CEO of the private security contractor, Silvercorp USA, Jordan Goudreau, and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.
Guiado has refuted any connection with Goudreau and the failed kidnap mission.
President Nicolas Maduro described the attack as a joint operation of Colombia and the US that set a goal to murder him, something that both Bogota and Washington have denied. The White House claimed that there was "no US involvement at all" in the incursion.
Venezuela has long been plunged into a political and financial crisis which escalated January 2019, after Juan Guaido proclaimed himself an "interim president" of the country and recieved the backing of the US, Colombia and many western countries. The president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, was supported by Russia, China and other nations.