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Foreign Affairs Release Says Nothing Much on Fatal Shooting in the Chiquibul

Outside of CEO Lovell’s response, there was a release issued just after five o’clock this evening from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  In that six paragraph document there is nothing that tells of the circumstances leading to the shooting incident but rather the release focused more on Belize’s request to the Organization of American States in verifying the exact location where the shooting took place since there are contradictory reports from both sides.  The release reads, quote, “The Government of Belize has requested the support of the Organization of American States (OAS) in conducting a verification exercise to ascertain the facts surrounding the shooting incident which occurred on Wednesday, 20th April, 2016 in the Cebada area of the Chiquibul National Park in western Belize.  According to initial reports, Belizean security forces were on a patrol to investigate illegal clearings in the protected area.  At about 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 20th April they detained without incident, 33-year-old Guatemalan national Jose Maria Antonio Reyes, who was found conducting illegal activities in our Chiquibul National Park.  As darkness descended later in the day, at about 7:00 p.m. the patrol came under fire.  The patrol returned fire in self-defence and decided to depart from the location which is approximately 580 meters east of the border.  Prior to departure they conducted their standard clearance procedure and discovered the seemingly lifeless body of a minor.  The body was later identified as that of Julio Alvarado, he was transported to the nearest hospital where he was pronounced dead. A post mortem was scheduled to be conducted on Thursday, 21st April, 2016 in Belize City.  Jose Maria Antonio Reyes was transferred to the custody of the San Ignacio Police where he awaits an appearance before a Magistrate.   The Government of Belize very much regrets any loss of life and will be conducting its own investigation. The Government remains concerned about illegal activities along our borders and will continue to engage the OAS and the Government of Guatemala with a view to stemming the illicit activities of Guatemalan civilians who are becoming increasingly more violent toward our security and law enforcement authorities.”  End of quote.