jueves, 7 de enero de 2016

Shootouts, shootings kill over 20 around Venezuela

At least 20 were killed around Venezuela in murders or in shootouts between police and suspected criminals through 4-6 January, three days whose violence was typical of the entire first week of 2016. On 5 January police operations against a criminal gang east of Caracas provoked two shootouts, one at the AB Beach hotel in Higuerote and another in La Troja further south, which killed four suspects, El Universal reported. Police shot dead eight suspected gangsters in two or more gun fights on 6 January in Petare, in the district of Sucre in the state of Miranda. These were identified in several papers as members of a gang, two of whose members police had shot on 3 January. Police went looking for the remainder of that gang, and found them at the two's funeral on 6 January. The daily also reported police shooting dead four suspects in the state of Zulia on 5 January. Late on 4 January, gunmen riding bikes shot dead five men playing a card game outside, in La Rinconada in southern Caracas. The dead included an army sergeant and a pastry chef, El Universal reported. In the capital's Catia neighbourhood, two thieves were shot dead by a man they had robbed as they left the scene, early on 5 January. Witnesses said he also fled, presumably to avoid arrest, El Nacional reported. The same day, a councilman for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela was shot 20 times while driving in Miranda in the state of Zulia. According to a local daily La Verdad, he had received death threats after dismissing several local officials following the government's election defeat on 6 December, El Universal reported. Overall, in the first five or six days of January, "at least" 80 bodies were counted as taken to the main Caracas morgue, Bello Monte. Most bodies taken there are believed to be of crime victims in and around Caracas.

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