Colombian troop surge seeks to stem drug-linked Venezuelan border violence

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By Luis Jaime Acosta NORTE DE SANTANDER, Colombia (Reuters) – Camouflaged Colombian troops with guns and anti-COVID masks creep through dense vegetation in suffocating heat, ready for their many enemies crisscrossing the Venezuelan border. The soldiers are part of a 14,000-strong military unit created last month to stem rising bloodshed in the northeastern province of Norte de Santander: Colombia’s new epicenter of conflict, fueled by rising cocaine production. “Any of the illegal armed groups in this area involved in drug trafficking could attack us,” said their sergeant, a 20-year army veter…

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