January 3, 2020 / 4:15 PM / 2 months ago

Venezuela requests Brazil extradite suspects in raid on military post

FILE PHOTO: Venezuela's Chief Prosecutor Tarek William Saab gestures as he talks to the media during a news conference in Caracas, Venezuela August 6, 2018. REUTERS/Adriana Loureiro/File Photo

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela has requested Brazil extradite five former members of the Venezuelan armed forces suspected of participating in a raid on a remote military outpost in southern Venezuela in late December, according to chief prosecutor Tarek Saab.

Last month, Brazil’s government said it was processing asylum claims from five deserting Venezuelan soldiers authorities had picked up near the border. The government did not mention the raid, but a Brazilian military source said the soldiers were suspected of involvement in the attack.

In a tweet, Saab posted a Jan. 2-dated letter to Brazil’s top public prosecutor, Augusto Aras, formally requesting their extradition. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the country’s foreign ministry had previously requested that Brazil hand the soldiers over

Brazil’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Relations between the two neighbouring South American countries have deteriorated this year since conservative Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, along with dozens of other countries, recognised Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s rightful leader, arguing Maduro should resign.

Reporting by Luc Cohen in Caracas; Additional reporting by Jamie McGeever in Brasilia; Editing by David Gregorio

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