Russian soldiers are operating drones over Venezuela as part of a search operation for members of a paramilitary force that led a botched invasion this week, local media reported on Friday, citing deleted tweets from a state military command center.
At least eight Russian special forces members will be “operating drones to run search and patrol operations” near La Guaira, the coastal state just north of Caracas, Venezuela’s capital, according to a report from local news outlet El Nacional. It posted a screenshot of a tweet it said was later deleted on Thursday from the profile of the military command, known as ZODI La Guaira.
An aircraft arrived at the country’s international airport on Thursday that would join the search mission, ZODI La Guaira wrote in a separate tweet, posting a photo of a helicopter. El Nacional said that tweet was also later deleted.
The aircraft’s origin and why the tweets were deleted was not immediately evident.
Even though the incursion was broadly considered a humiliating failure since authorities initially announced it had been broken up on Sunday, organizers in subsequent days have said members of the force continued to fight.
There has, however, been no evidence of any military actions on the part of the group since Sunday.
Thirty-one people have been arrested for their role in the bungled incursion, Chief Prosecutor Tarek Saab said on Friday, including two Americans who work for the security firm that organized it, Silvercorp USA.
Authorities said eight people were killed.
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