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Colombia, Venezuela send armed forces to border regions to combat narcoterrorism

The Colombian and Venezuelan governments have deployed military personnel and indigenous armoured vehicles to combat separatist and drug-trafficking groups operating along their shared border. Violence in the region has increased since 2021 as the government-to-government relationship between Caracas and Bogota has worsened, the Venezuelan migration crisis increased, and criminal organisations moved into new areas.

In Colombia, 240 soldiers trained in rural and urban warfare and assigned to the 8th Division arrived in the Arauca department in early February. Overall, 7,000 military personnel and 1,120 police officers have been deployed to Arauca, according to the Colombian Ministry of National Defence.

Soldiers deployed to this region are outfitted with two Titán armoured personnel carriers (APCs) that are produced by the Colombian company Blindex, each with a three-person crew and capable of carrying up to 20 military personnel. Four additional APCs of an undisclosed model have also been sent to the region, while an additional 12 vehicles will arrive by the end of March. A retired senior Colombian Army officer told Janes in mid-February that the Titán APC is designed for irregular warfare, making it ideal for operations in Arauca.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan military is similarly present in Apure state, which borders Colombia's Arauca department. The Venezuelan military has not disclosed how many personnel have been deployed to the region as part of Operation ‘Bolivarian Shield 2022'. Andrei Serbin Pont, an international affairs analyst and director of the Argentina-based think tank Regional Coordinator for Social and Economic Research (Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales: CRIES), told Janes on 15 February that Bolivarian militias (Milicia Bolivariana) have been sent to Apure to augment the number of military personnel typically stationed there. A 19 February video by the Venezuelan military's news service TvFANB

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