Venezuelan authorities have detained two U.S. citizens working with a U.S. military veteran who has claimed responsibility for a failed armed incursion into Venezuela, according to President Nicolas Maduro.

In a state television address, President Maduro said authorities arrested 13 “terrorists” on Monday allegedly involved in a plot, he said was coordinated with Washington to enter the South American country via the Caribbean coast, in a bid to oust him. Eight people were killed during the foiled incursion attempt on Sunday, Venezuelan authorities said.

Maduro showed what he said were the U.S. passports and other identification cards belonging to Airan Berry and Luke Denman, who he said were in custody and had been working with Jordan Goudreau, an American military veteran who leads a Florida-based security company called Silvercorp USA.

“They were playing Rambo. They were playing hero,” Maduro said, adding that Venezuelan authorities had caught wind of the plot before its execution.

Goudreau, who identified himself as an organizer of the invasion on Sunday, told Reuters on Monday that Berry and Denman were also involved. “They’re working with me. Those are my guys,” he said by telephone.

The State Department did not provide any immediate comment on the alleged arrests. U.S. officials have strongly denied any U.S. government involvement in the incursions.

Opposition leader Juan Guaido cast doubt on the government’s version of Sunday’s events, insisting Maduro is seeking to distract from other problems in recent days including a deadly prison riot and a violent gang battle in Caracas.

SOURCE : REUTERS