Venezuela said on Sunday at least 10 members of an amateur Colombian soccer team had been found dead after being kidnapped on its side of the border. Venezuelan Vice President Ramon Carrizalez told reporters the men were found with bullet wounds in various parts of the western state of Tachira, on the border between the two neighbouring countries.
One of the 12 men survived the ordeal, while another was still missing, Venezuelan authorities said.
Kidnappings and armed disputes are rife on both sides of the frontier, where Colombian guerrilla groups, paramilitary militia and criminal gangs all operate.
Carrizalez said the deaths of the football players, whom local media have said were local tradesmen seized on October 11 while in Venezuela for a game, were related to Colombia's internal conflict. He gave no further details.
The incident adds another complication to fractious ties between the two countries. Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez broke off relations and minimized trade earlier this year due to Colombia's acceptance of US military bases on its soil.
Colombian authorities have offered to help their Venezuelan counterparts into the investigation of the killings.
Colombian intelligence sources also revealed they have informed authorities in Ecuador of the existence of ten Colombian guerrilla camps on Ecuadorian soil, close to the border, openly involved in the drugs trade.
The bombing and destruction of a FARC guerrilla camp on Ecuadorian soil last year caused a serious rift between both countries following Quito’s decision to break relations with Bogotá.
During the raid Colombian forces killed the number 2 of the FARC group and apparent heir of the group, and captured several laptops with “valuable information”.