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Venezuelan Troops, Protesters Clash After 3 Kidnapped Boys Found Dead


Venezuelan troops fired tear gas Wednesday as demonstrators demanding action against crime blocked a Caracas highway to protest the execution-style murders of three kidnapped young brothers.

A Venezuelan newspaper photographer, Jorge Aguirre, also was shot as he went to cover a smaller protest at a local university. He later died at a hospital.

Justice Minister Jesse Chacon said the bullet-riddled bodies of Jason, Kevin and John Bryan Faddoul - aged 12, 13, and 17 - were found about 30 kilometers from the capital and that the body of their driver, Miguel Ribas, was also discovered.

Officials say Ribas was taking the boys to school on February 23 when their car was stopped at a roadblock by a group of men dressed in police uniforms. The kidnappers later demanded more than four-and-a-half million dollars from the boys' family, which it was not able to pay.

Venezuelan Attorney-General Isaias Rodriguez tells the Associated Press police officials could have been involved in the boys' deaths.

The development comes days after an Italian-Venezuelan businessman was abducted and killed after being stopped at a bogus checkpoint.

The boys had dual Venezuelan - Canadian citizenship.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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