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Eight dead as suspected criminals, security forces clash in Venezuela

AFP , Tuesday 15 Aug 2017
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Eight people died in a confrontation between a suspected a criminal gang and security forces in a violent region in southern Venezuela, prosecutors and media said Tuesday.

The incident occurred near the border with Brazil, in the town of El Callao, the prosecutors' office said on Twitter. It said a mixed military and police unit was involved in the confrontation but gave no further details.

The deaths were unrelated to the political violence wracking Venezuela.

According to the newspaper El Universal, the eight killed were part of a criminal gang in the area. They did not have identity documents on them.

El Callao, population 21,000, is known for its gold-related activities. The region has a reputation for lawlessness and violence.

Last year, in the town of Tumeremo 40 kilometers (25 miles) away, a mass grave was found with the bodies of 17 miners who had been shot in the head and chest.

Months later another massacre, of 11 people, was recorded in the same town.

According to prosecutors, there were 21,752 murders in Venezuela last year. Its homicide rate makes it one of the deadliest countries in the world.

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