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Government responds to Guatemalan incursion on Belize side of Sarstoon River

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Posted: Monday, September 19, 2022. 2:58 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: The Ministry of National Defence and Border Security issued a statement on the Guatemalan incursion into Belizean waters.

The Ministry says that on Sunday, September 18th, 2022, a joint Belize Defence Force and Belize National Coast Guard patrol were deployed to the Sarstoon and encountered 5 Guatemalan Armed Forces maritime vessels on the northern side of the Sarstoon Island.

The joint patrol also observed 5 civilian vessels operated by members of the Belize Territorial Volunteers.

“Wil Maheia, leader of the Belize Territorial Volunteers, informed the joint patrol that they had placed 2 Belizean National Flags on the Sarstoon Island, which members of the Guatemalan Armed Forces later removed,” the statement said.

The Guatemalans informed the joint patrol that the entire area belongs to Guatemala; however, the joint patrol commander informed the Guatemalan Armed Forces that they were in Belizean territory and that they should leave, the Ministry says.

According to the Ministry, after the exchange between the BDF and the Guatemalan officials, the Belize Territorial Volunteers and the Guatemalan Armed Forces vessels departed.

“The Belize Defence Force and Belize National Coast Guard joint patrol then left the area to the Sarstoon Forward Operating Base to maintain military presence,” the Ministry added.

The Ministry says that the joint deployment continues to conduct regular patrols from Barranco Village to the Sarstoon Island, and remains vigilant to ensure the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Belize.

 

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