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Sun, 03 Feb 2019 13:21 - Updated Sun, 03 Feb 2019 13:21

Inside a raid in Maduro's crackdown on critics in Venezuela slums

CARACAS- After Venezuelan police officers clad in black military uniforms and masks stopped 27-year-old Yohendry Fernandez at gunpoint in the Caracas slum of Jose Felix Ribas, they asked him if he had a criminal record. He replied yes.

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The officers then dragged him into an alley and shot him twice in the chest, killing him, according to his family and a witness.

It was the afternoon of Jan. 24, the day after tens of thousands of slum residents left their hillside homes to join mass protests against President Nicolas Maduro, who they blame for an economic crisis that has left them without water, power, medicines and food.

Several dozen officers from the National Police’s Special Action Force (FAES) drove into the slum in armoured vehicles and on motorcycles.

As they roared down the dusty streets, some opened fire as residents fled before them shouting “They’re here,” according to witnesses. Police snipers clambered atop tin rooftops and locals hid under beds as the gunshots rang out, the witnesses said.

By dawn, the FAES unit had killed as many as 10 people, leaving with their bodies and about a dozen hooded detainees, according to four local community leaders.Reuters

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