Venezuela beefs up border with choppers

Oct. 22, 2004 at 5:54 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Venezuela will receive in July the first batch of Russian helicopters ordered to improve security along the Colombian border, officials said Friday.

According to Defense Minister Jose Garcia, 10 of the 33 helicopters -- a mix of attack and transport variety -- are among the most sophisticated in the world.

Venezuela is seeking to secure its jungle border with neighboring Colombia following last month's attack by unknown gunmen who killed six Venezuelan soldiers and an engineer for a state oil company.

Colombia's left-wing rebel groups and right-wing paramilitaries have been known to frequent the border area and sometimes cross into Venezuela.

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