Colombia’s migration authority said Wednesday that it expelled five Venezuelan citizens on claims they wanted to sabotage a festival that seeks to raise aid funds for their country.
In a press release, Migracion Colombia said that the Venezuelan citizens were arrested in border city Cucuta in an operation carried out by migration authorities and police intelligence agency SIJIN.
The Venezuelans, who allegedly were in the country illegally, sought “to affect order and social tranquility,” the migration authority said without offering any specifics.
Migracion Colombia implied the men wanted to disrupt Venezuela Aid Live, a concert organized by British billionaire Richard Branson to raise funds for Venezuela where an economic crisis spurred scarcity in food and medicine.
The government of President Ivan Duque has been among the most vociferous to demand the resignation of authoritarian President Nicolas Maduro and the installment of Juan Guaido, Venezuela’s president of the National Assembly who declared himself interim president last month.
According to the migration authority, the government of the leftist Maduro is seeking to carry out attacks in Colombia, but provided no evidence.
The five men were allegedly taken to the border and surrendered to Venezuelan authorities without any charges being filed.
Migracion Colombia said it would continue monitoring Venezuelan mass migration and “punish any foreigner that seeks to affect our’s country’s tranquility.”
Tensions between Colombia and Venezuela have been growing after more than a million Venezuelans fled westward to escape their country’s collapsing political system.
Venezuela has claimed that Colombia’s government, led by the hard-right President Ivan Duque, wants to topple the Maduro administration together with the United States.