Colombia Investigates a Possible Plot to Assassinate President, Official Says

Colombia Investigates a Possible Plot to Assassinate President, Official Says

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — Colombia is investigating a possible plot to assassinate President Ivan Duque that may involve Venezuelan nationals arrested while carrying “weapons of war,” according to a top official.

Without providing evidence or any further details, Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes posted a 90-second video on Twitter Saturday night that said Colombia’s intelligence services had been hearing chatter about alleged plans to kill Mr. Duque, a conservative.

He said the recent arrests of three Venezuelans who had assault weapons in their possession had heightened the authorities’ concern.

“With immense concern and the utmost condemnation, I want to inform the international community that, in effect, for the past several months intelligence investigations have been taking place about possible attacks on the president’s life,” Mr. Holmes said in the video.

The video did not say whether the authorities had verified the existence of a conspiracy.

Blu Radio reported that the Venezuelans, who were arrested in the cities of Valledupar and Barranquilla this month, had in their possession an assault rifle with a telescopic scope, as well as an Uzi, ammunition and stun grenade.

Blu, citing unidentified sources, said any plot would have likely had the support of armed Colombian leftist rebels or drug-trafficking organizations, and would have been timed to coincide next month with the start of the second term of President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela.

There was no immediate reaction from Venezuela’s government.

In his video, Mr. Holmes appealed to Colombians to share any information that could affect the president’s safety. He expressed appreciation for the cooperation of unidentified foreign intelligence agencies for helping to protect the Colombian president.

Mr. Duque, 42, who took office in August, has been leading a diplomatic effort in Latin America to isolate Venezuela’s socialist government as Mr. Maduro looks set to cement his hold on power amid a devastating economic crisis that has spurred millions of Venezuelans to flee to neighboring countries to escape widespread food and medicine shortages and hyperinflation.

The Colombian leader has been a strong critic of the socialist government of Mr. Maduro, whom he has called a “dictator.”

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