There were reports that the Guatemalan military had added about five hundred soldiers to the Sarstoon area. 500 is the realistic number following the outrageous report that there were three thousand troops being deployed. This morning at the BDF headquarters, Brigadier General David Jones spoke on if and how Belize is responding to the increased troops on the Guatemalan side.
“Having their soldiers over on their side is not of concern to us because it actually will help our cause in stopping our people from coming over. They’ve deployed in the area but they are operating on their side of the border so we are operating in Belize and they are operating in Guatemala. They’ve expressed that they are going to try to ascertain information that is happening along all those communities and this will be a move that may assist us because it will assist them in trying to stop their people from coming over because that is the root cause of the problem where we have peasants over there who want to seek better standards of living and better means of survival and that better opportunity is here in Belize. It creates friction and problems when they are here in Belize. If they are without firearms and not aggressive to the patrol our soldiers treat them humanely but when they attack or aggress our patrol especially with firearms our patrol are going to return fire. Our rules of engagement are not going to change. As long as we are fired upon, as long as our lives are in danger we are going to respond and unfortunately there may be fatalities if such incidents do occur.”
In our newscast yesterday we brought you the story of an interview done with the Minister of Defense for Guatemala where he stated that there were additional troops and patrols done in the border area as they were concerned for the residents who live in the 35 communities along the border.