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CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela filed a complaint
on Monday accusing Colombia's state security agency of spying in its territory in the latest salvo in a simmering diplomatic spat between the Andean neighbours.
Venezuela gave no details of how Bogota's security agency had been spying, but the accusation came after relations were further complicated by the murder of 10 members of an amateur Colombian football team across the Venezuelan border.
Ties soured earlier this year when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez suspended relations with Bogota and reduced bilateral trade over Colombia's plan to allow U.S. troops more access to its military bases.
"Venezuela demands Colombia halt all activities of agents from the Department of Administrative Security or DAS inside Venezuela," the foreign ministry said in a statement, which charged the agency with engaging in "a conspiracy and a plan to destabilize" the country.
Bogota and Caracas often spar over Colombia's guerrilla conflict and cocaine trade spilling over the frontier, but their $7 billion (4 billion pounds) in annual commerce is usually only temporarily disrupted.
Chavez, a persistent critic of the United States, says he believes the Colombian bases may be used to launch an attack on his nation. Colombia President Alvaro Uribe counters that the accord is an extension of its existing anti-narcotics and counter-insurgency cooperation with the United States.
Venezuelan officials have attacked the DAS in the past. In September the country's interior minister accused the agency of trafficking cocaine from Colombia.
In the latest incident, 10 members of a Colombian football team were kidnapped and later found dead from gunshot wounds. Venezuelan officials say it was another illustration of Colombia failing to contain its conflict.
Colombia's Uribe is Washington's staunchest ally in South America and his government has received billions of dollars in U.S. aid to fight drug traffickers and leftist guerrillas.
Colombia last month said it would dismantle the DAS, which has been at the heart of a serious of scandals over illegal wiretapping of Uribe's opponents, journalists and top judges.
Former officials with the DAS are also under investigation on charges they provided paramilitary death squads with details of union leaders and human rights workers they should target as guerrilla sympathizers.
(Reporting by Patrick Markey in Caracas; editing by Chris Wilson)