CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro abruptly cut short a televised speech and soldiers present broke ranks and scattered after hearing several explosions Saturday in what the government called an attempted attack on the socialist leader.
Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said in a live broadcast that several drone-like devices with explosives detonated near the Maduro.
He said Maduro is safe and unharmed but that seven people were injured. Firefighters near the scene are disputing the government’s version of events.
Maduro was giving a speech in the capital of Caracas during a celebration of the National Guard’s 81st anniversary. He was wearing the presidential banner.
“To the conscious Venezuela, we are going to bet for the good of our country, the hour of the economic recovery has come and we need…,” Maduro was saying before the cameras quickly moved away from him.
Maduro was standing next to his wife Cilia Flores and several high-ranking military officials for the event.
A video shows Flores wince, and both she and Maduro look up after an unidentified sound.
The soldiers lined up in ranks then began running.
The transmission was cut without explanation.
Officials have not commented.