Guyana claims Venezuelan military blows up Guyanese gold-mining dredges

Guyana rushed troops and police to its western border Friday after Venezuelan soldiers allegedly blew up two Guyanese gold-mining dredges on a river near the frontier, the foreign ministry said. According to the Guyanese military, 36 Venezuelan soldiers used helicopters and C-4 explosives to destroy the two river dredges Thursday. The pontoons were not in operation and no one was aboard, according to a statement from the Guyana government. Venezuela's ambassador Dario Morandy denied force was used and said soldiers were conducting an exercise to remove about 200 families mining illegally inside Venezuelan territory. The ambassador accused them of polluting the river with mercury and said Venezuela was protecting its natural resources.