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Venezuelan police detain about 40 Colombians

world Updated: Aug 17, 2009 08:12 IST
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Venezuelan police on Sunday detained about 40 Colombian citizens, including an employee of the Colombian consulate in Caracas, while they were trying to renew their identity papers, Colombian Consul Maria Elvira Cabello announced.

According to the diplomat, the arrests took place when police raided a location where Colombian consular workers were trying to renew the documents of their compatriots living in Venezuela.

She said the procedure had been planned since May and had received all necessary approval from Venezuelan authorities.

All the identity papers were seized from those detained, Cabello said.

"I think it was not the proper way to deal with Colombians, their passports, identity papers, and their computers because this equipment and other consular materials enjoy diplomatic immunity," she told local media.

More than four million Colombians live in neighboring Venezuela, according to local statistics.

In July, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez froze relations with Colombia in response to that country's decision to grant the United States access to seven military bases on Colombian territory.