Two Venezuelan men died in Colombia on Friday after shooting outside a party attended by some members of the foreign ministry in the capital Bogota, a government spokesman said.
The incident, which came amid tensions between Venezuela and its neighbor and it’s main trading partner, sparked an outcry and led to more than 500,000 Venezuelan voters flooding to the streets in the hope of shaking President Juan Manuel Santos.
A government official said the men had entered the country illegally on Thursday and assaulted some members of the presidential guard. Both died on the way to a hospital. The official said the shootings appeared to be linked to the festering political crisis in Venezuela.
Santos told reporters on Saturday that he took the incident very seriously and said he would do everything possible to find out what happened.
“There are steps that can be taken against this,” Santos said, reiterating that a Venezuelan soldier who was arrested in relation to the incident would face justice in Colombia.
The government said later on Saturday that the two Venezuelan men were 24-year-old Yuri Leonie and his 19-year-old cousin Eddy Figueroa Leonie.
Maduro’s opponents say the death of the two Venezuelans followed the killing in February of another man near Venezuela’s border with Colombia. There was no immediate comment from Maduro’s government on that incident.
Both countries’ governments have threatened one another in recent months as Venezuela’s political turmoil spirals.
Thousands of people blocked major streets in Venezuela on Saturday in what supporters said was a demonstration to support an opposition supporter shot by soldiers on Friday outside the Embassy of Venezuela in Bogota.