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Chavez says Venezuelan arms in FARC hands were stolen

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-06

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez denied claims he had supplied FARC rebels on Wednesday, saying rocket launchers and automatic rifles found in a Colombian FARC base had been stolen from Venezuela fourteen years ago.

AFP - Rocket launchers and automatic rifles found in a Colombian rebel camp were stolen from a Venezuelan naval post 14 years ago, President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday, denying Bogota's claim he gave them to the insurgents.

The anti-tank launchers, bought from Sweden by Venezuela in the 1980s, had been in the arsenal in the post in Cararabo, close to the Colombian border, that was cleared out in the robbery in 1995, Chavez told a news conference.

He described Colombian claims that he supplied them to the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia as a "dirty move".

He claimed Bogota made the allegation to divert attention from a plan to open seven military bases in Colombia to US forces, which has triggered opposition across South America.

Chavez on July 28 announced he was freezing diplomatic ties with Colombia because of the weapons allegation.

Date created : 2009-08-06