Venezuela arrests two suspects in lawmaker's murder

Venezuela arrests two suspects in lawmaker's murder
President of Venezula, Nicolas Maduro.

CARACAS - Venezuelan authorities have arrested two men in connection with the murder of a pro-government lawmaker this month, President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday.

Legislator Robert Serra and his companion Maria Herrera were stabbed to death in his home two weeks ago in what government officials described as a carefully planned assassination.

"This crime was committed to shake up society, the state, the country, to take us toward violence," Maduro said at a news conference, adding that Serra's main bodyguard was involved and that right-wing Colombian paramilitaries had participated.

During a live television broadcast, the president played a grainy video that showed two men, one of whom described his participation in the crime.

Maduro said police are seeking four other suspects and have asked Interpol to help find them if they leave the country.

Serra, who was 27, rose to prominence as a student activist and was seen as a rising leader of the Socialist Party.

Local media reports have described his murder as being linked to a robbery that followed a dispute with his bodyguard.

Opposition critics accuse Maduro of attempted to shift attention away from Venezuela's rampant violent crime by ascribing political motives to violence that affects high-level government allies.

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