( CNN) Venezuela’s foreign minister has demanded that Colombia return three military officers who have sought political asylum in the neighboring country.

The apparent desertion arrives amid weeks of violent complainsagainst the administration of President Nicholas Maduro, with at least 22 people dead as a result of the turmoil..

The military desertions are believed to be the first since Maduro came to power in 2013 and could indicate weakening is supportive of the embattled President within the armed forces, according to observers.