At least three people have been killed and several others wounded in gunfights between police and gangs on the streets of Caracas, local media in Venezuela reported on Thursday. The street battles have raged since Wednesday.
Police have closed roads in the northwest of the capital after shootouts between officers and armed criminals in at least five different areas over the last 24 hours.
Law enforcement has reportedly come under attack from the El Koki, Vampi and Garbis gangs, who have been trying to expand their territory from the Cota 905 barrio into nearby areas for several months.
On Wednesday, the violence claimed the lives of at least three civilians and wounded six people, activists said, although the authorities have not confirmed any casualties.
#ENVIDEOS Banda de la Cota 905 continúa disparando hacia Quinta Crespo y El Paraíso https://t.co/ODgFOUrPpRpic.twitter.com/0IWAG9A25T
In local news footage on Thursday gunshots could be heard as officers from Venezuela’s Scientific, Criminal and Criminal Investigations Corps faced off against El Koki members.
Other footage purported to show police from Venezuela’s Special Action Forces mobilizing on the outskirts of Cota 905.
FUNCIONARIOS DE FAES EN LA INMEDIACIÓNES DE LA COTA #VALLEDEBALAS@COTA905 @marupita @traffiCARACAS @FMCENTER @RCamachoVzla @ImpactoVE @ReporteYa @delmirodebarrio @CronicaPolicial @jesusmedinae pic.twitter.com/A5Q06Q39A0
Local eyewitnesses also shared footage on social media in which gang members appeared to steal a truck and set it alight, and posted images of the bullet damage to their homes.
DELICUENTES TOMAN CAMIONETA PICK UP EN LA AUTOPISTA #VALLEDEBALAS#COTA905 @marupita @traffiCARACAS @FMCENTER @RCamachoVzla @ImpactoVE @ReporteYa @delmirodebarrio @CronicaPolicial @jesusmedinae pic.twitter.com/W7vaqypj0M
#8Jul Más imágenes de cuando antisociales quemaron un camión en la autopista adyacente a la entrada de el túnel de El Cementerio. pic.twitter.com/svJ6lzHwL7
Sujetos de la Cota 905 continúan disparando hacia El Paraíso. Reportan que algunos apartamentos han sido impactados por balas disparadas desde la Cota. pic.twitter.com/2XhqsD82kE
Gangs also fired shots at a police station in other footage from overnight.
“State security agencies continue to be deployed in the areas affected by these criminals,” Interior Minister Carmen Melendez said in a statement.
She said the violent outbursts began on Wednesday afternoon, and law enforcement “will not rest until rescuing absolute control”.
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