Venezuelan leader Maduro accuses Colombia of exploding drone assassination attempt

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Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro's speech cut off, soldiers seen running

Maduro said that as he was mid-speech in an event to commemorate the 81st anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard, a device exploded right in front of him.

Security personnel surround Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after explosions rang out as he addressed members of the military.

Two drones loaded with explosives detonated near Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro today, authorities have confirmed.

Attorney General Tarek William Saab said the attempted assassination targeted not only Maduro, but rather the military's entire high command on stage with the president.

Rodriguez said Maduro is safe and unharmed but that seven people were injured.

The US and other countries have expressed alarm at the loyalist structure propping up Maduro, saying Venezuelan democracy was being undermined.

But Maduro said: "I have no doubt that the name (Colombian President) Juan Manuel Santos is behind this attack". The soldiers lined up in front of Maduro can be seen breaking ranks and running before the transmission was cut.

"The event is evidence of desperation of ultraright leaders who, being defeated politically, continue to resort to criminal practices, and they have failed once again", Rodriguez said.

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Miguel Perez Abad, president of the Venezuelan government banks, tweeted "In a few moments, our national government will inform about what happened at Bolivar Avenue".

As Maduro spoke of Venezuela's economy, the audio suddenly went off, and he and others on the podium suddenly looked up, startled.

"That drone was coming for me but there was a shield of love", Maduro said.

Meanwhile, late Saturday, a civilian and military rebel group calling itself the "National Movement of Soldiers in Shirts" claimed responsibility for the explosion.

Firefighters near the scene have disputed Mr Rodriguez's version of events. The officer was hunted down and killed by Venezuelan forces.

Maduro, a former bus driver who replaced former President Hugo Chavez after his death in 2013, won a new six-year term in May but his main rivals disavowed the election and alleged massive irregularities.

The organization did not respond to a message from The Associated Press seeking more information.

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