On Monday June 3rd a Guatemalan national was shot by Belizean forces patrolling near the Caballo area in the Chiquibul after he was caught approximately two miles inside Belizean territory. The victim, later identified as 27 year old Edgar Alexander Sacasa, was transported to the Western Regional Hospital in a critical condition since he was unable to be transported the same day, due to the terrain and weather conditions. Reports are that a team of patrol officers stumbled upon a plantation and a thatch structure in the Caballo camp area and while they were securing the area, Sacasa came upon them. He was on a horse and he was carrying a firearm. Authorities say they ordered him to stop, but Sacasa ran off into nearby bushes. Patrol officers say they fired two warning shots and Sacasa who fired back at them. The patrol team subsequently returned fire, and Sacasa was hit four times – twice to the upper back and once to the lower back and left elbow. He also sustained a large bruise to the back. It is believed that Edgar Alexander Sacasa was conducting illegal activities within Belizean territory.

What is more disturbing though, is that reports have circulated in the Prensa Libre, a Guatemalan newspaper, suggesting that measures are being considered to install Guatemalan Special Forces at the Adjacency Zone. All this is taking place while details about the armed confrontation are still under investigation and the victim remains hospitalized under police guard at the Western Regional Hospital.

And while the information on the deployment of troops has not been confirmed, C.E.O Alexis Rosado of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that the relationship between Belize and Guatemala’s forces is cordial. In an interview last night with the Belize City media, Rosado stated and we quote “What I can tell you is that the Belize Defence Force is traditionally, at least for the several years that have passed, have been working very closely with their counterparts in Guatemala and as far as we could tell it’s a healthy relationship. They do meet regularly and they do conduct joint activities where they do meet along the Adjacency Zone and they share information and share experience and so forth. So, their relationship has been healthy and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.” End of quote.

“Kaibiles”, as they are referred to, are members of an elite team within the ranks of Guatemala’s armed forces. It is also known that this is not the first time they have been deployed to the area but have worked closely with BDF personnel in conducting border patrols in many occasions.