GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday June 30, 2014, CMC – A number of Guyanese were reportedly beaten by Venezuelan soldiers at the north-western border Guyana shares with its Spanish-speaking neighbour days ago.
While offering no comment on reports of the assault on the Guyanese, the Guyana Defence Force’s Chief of Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips, was Saturday quoted assuring that it was not a clash of armies as no Guyanese soldiers were involved in the alleged incident, Friday.
“We have some reports of an altercation that we are investigating… nothing to do with Guyanese soldiers. There are no Guyanese soldiers stationed there,” he told one local media house.
According to a number of media, reports are that ‘rogue’ Venezuelan soldiers crossed the border and assaulted a group of men and women miners in an area called ‘Bruk- up Falls’, located on the Guyana side of the bordering Amakura River, in the North West District.
“They were taken from Bruk-Up Falls after more than two dozen armed soldiers attached to the Venezuelan military descended on the location and proceeded to beat and handcuff the Guyanese men who were in the area at the time” one report stated.
There have so far been no further reports on the location and well-being of the Guyanese.
Guyana has a decades-old land dispute with Venezuela, which has laid claim to a significant portion of the CARICOM country. During the rule of late Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, he agreed with Guyana authorities to have the issue settled through a United Nations-appointed ‘Good Officer’. A process which continues.
But since his passing there have been several incidents between the two countries on land and in the territorial waters, with the latest being an incursion of Venezuelan soldiers into Guyana last year.
Observers believe that the 2013 incursion and other similar incidents were instigated by forces opposed to the Government of Chavez’ successor, President Nicholas Maduro, hoping to soil his declared continued friendly relations with Guyana.