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Venezuelan football team robbed at gunpoint

Caracas (AFP) – Robbers hijacked the bus of a Venezuelan first-division football team and held the squad for more than two terrifying hours at gunpoint, even taking their clothes and footwear, the club said Monday.

Trujillanos suffered a 2-1 defeat at Monagas on Sunday and afterwards six gunmen with high-caliber weapons forced their bus to stop around dawn on a stretch of highway in the northeastern state of Anzoategui.

“The bus was then taken on a detour of 1.5 kilometers (nearly a mile). They robbed absolutely everything,” including uniforms, boots and balls, the team said.

It posted pictures to its Twitter account of shirtless, shoeless team members standing on the side of the road beside their bus.

The team, which is based in the western state of Trujillo, said the attackers held the bus for two and a half hours, threatening to detonate grenades if team members resisted.

Venezuelan officials did not immediately comment on the report.

Oil-dependent Venezuela is immersed in an economic crisis caused largely by the collapse in global crude prices since mid-2014.

Severe shortages of food and medicine have fueled looting, riots and an increase in violent crime.

With a homicide rate of 62 per 100,000 inhabitants, Venezuela is the third-most murderous country in the world, behind gang-plagued Honduras and El Salvador, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

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