CARACAS, Nov 16, 2017 (BSS/AFP) – Illegal gold miners opened fire on Venezuelan troops patrolling an isolated jungle outpost Wednesday, triggering a clash in which nine suspects were killed.
In an area where organized crime has a hand in the crime, the group was on patrol in Valle Verde, outside El Callao in Bolivar state, the military said.
One member of the patrol was injured.
The region not far from the Brazilian border has vast reserves of gold and other resources.
Venezuela is in economic crisis due to the low price of its main export, oil. Gold prices meanwhile are firm.
The South American nation has a sky-high violent crime rate.
Last year 21,752 people were killed — or 70.1 people for every 100,000 residents. That is almost nine times worse than the global average.