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Venezuela declares state of emergency along Colombia border

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures as he speaks during a meeting with ministers at Miraflores Palace in Caracas

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro on Friday declared a state of emergency along parts of the border with Colombia to restore order after a clash between smugglers and troops left three soldiers wounded.

The measure will remain in effect for 60 days in five municipalities of the Venezuelan state of Tachira, where smugglers of gasoline and subsidized food products have increasingly clashed with security forces.

“This decree provides ample power to civil and military authorities to restore peace,” he said in a ceremony broadcast on state television.

The decree suspends constitutional guarantees in those areas, except for guarantees relating to human rights.

Maduro on Wednesday closed two border crossings to Colombia after a shootout left three soldiers injured, adding that they would be closed until further notice.

A contingent of 1,500 soldiers arrived Friday in the border area to join the 500 already stationed in the area, he said.

The two countries share a porous 2,219-kilometer (1,379 mile) border that is frequently traversed by smugglers and illegal armed groups.

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