Brazil says it has started deploying troops along its border with Venezuela after the government in Caracas said it intended to annex territory controlled by Guyana.

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The AFP news agency added that the increased presence was part of efforts to "ensure the inviolability of the territory". The oil-rich Essequibo region has been a matter of controversy since the 19th century, when Guyana was a British colony. Venezuela has renewed its claims after oil and gas deposits were discovered on the sea shelf a few years ago.

A referendum held on Sunday in Venezuela showed that more than 95 percent of the population supported Essequibo's accession.

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