The bodies of four missing miners from the Tumeremo municipality in the Venezuelan state of Bolívar have been found.
The men, belonging to a larger group of 28 miners working in an illegal gold mine, have been missing since March 4, are believed to have been murdered by a criminal group. The authorities will continue excavating the site, daily El Espectador reports.
“We have the bodies at the site, at the moment a team of experts are on site exhuming the remains. They have currently found four bodies, we don’t know if they are all there,” Venezuela’s attorney general Luisa Ortega Díaz commented.
Díaz tweeted news of the discovery on Sunday:
Informo al país que hemos localizado los restos de las personas desaparecidas en Tumeremo
— Luisa Ortega Díaz (@lortegadiaz) March 14, 2016
President Nicolás Maduro has ordered an increased military presence in the area, as well as within the country’s municipalities that are most affected by mining and extraction activities.
While authorities remain uncertain as to the exact events leading to the miners’ deaths, it is believed that the men were caught up in the crossfire between two warring gangs, according to BBC Mundo.