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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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According to multiple news sources, 35-40 Belizeans mostly from Orange Walk, were detained earlier today by the Guatemalan Military. The Minister of National Security and Foreign Affairs has been in communication with its Guatemalan counterparts. They have been released, but travel conditions are not ideal and their return is set for tomorrow, Sunday.

The Belizeans were on their way back to Belize via the Sarstoon River when they were captured. They had been on their way to place a plaque at the Gracias a Dios monument on a BTV (Belize Territorial Volunteers) mission.

Guatemalan officials reportedly boarded the Belizean vessel and took them first to a Guatemalan outpost and later taken to Livingston, Guatemala.

The reason for the detention by the Guatemalan military is not known.

Late this evening it was confirmed by family members of the persons detained that they were released but a decision was taken to remain Livingston for the night and head back to Belize in Sunday morning due to concerns over the safety on the seas at night.

Late on Saturday night, the Belizeans were scrambling in Livingston to try and get hotel accommodations, many of them pooling their money to secure a place to sleep for the night.

Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of National Security George Lovell told KREM Radio tonight that it was his understanding that the Mayor of Livingston, Guatemala had offered to provide hotel accommodations for the Belizeans who had been detained by the Guatemalan authorities.

That assertion however was quickly dispelled when text messages from the detained Belizeans confirmed that in fact they were on their own, and finding their own way around trying to find accommodation for the night.

Click photos for more pictures!

They went to show they are patriotic. They were detained by an armed Guatemala Coastguard patrol. Men, women, children-BELIZEANS. They are now safe and will return to Belize, unharmed.

The group of approximately 40 Belizeans, including children, have been released by Guatemalan authorities BUT are still in Guatemala.

The group from the Northern Territorial Volunteers was towed to Livingston Guatemala after being intercepted by Guatemalan military earlier today after returning from a trip to Gracias A Dios. The Belizean Ambassador to Guatemala,Alexis Rosado, the OAS & the Belize Defense Force were notified and following their intervention the Belizean group was released. Unfortunately, the sea condition is not optimal for the group to travel back to Belize from Livingston in their own vessel. News 5 Live has confirmed that the Belize Coast Guard vessel from Hunting Caye will be meeting with Guatemalan authorities & NTV group at first light for the transfer back to Belize, specifically to the PG main dock.

A group of 40 Belizeans went to the Gracias Adios Monument up the Sarstoon River to place a Belize a plaque at the site . Upon returning, about halfway on the river a Guatemala boat patrol intercepted the group of Belizeans. They instructed them to turn the engine off the boat. They pulled the boat across the river. They then instructed them to get into their vessel. And according to Wil Maheia who has been in contact with the group, they were ordered to get into the Guatemala military boat which would take them to Livingston, Guatemala to be processed. Maheia also said the boat captain had made the trip many times before and would never venture into Guatemala's side of the river. to Krem News, the CEO of the Ministry of National Security has been informed as well as the BDF and the Coastguard who are all attempting to reach their Guatemalan counterparts about the seizure of the Belizeans. The eldest person on the boat is a woman in there 80's. The group will spend the night. The Belize Territorial Volunteers excursion members still have access to their phone and they might be released to travel back to Punta Gorda in the morning.

The photo is of the boat taken by Wil Maheia as they headed out earlier today to place the plaque at the monument.

(update: 7:30 p.m.- The Belizeans have been released at Livingston. They will remain there for the night due to unsafe travel and return to Belize in the morning. They don't know why they were detained but they do know the captain of the vessel was accused of committing an infraction.)

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Belizeans detained by Guatemala military arrive in Punta Gorda
The group of Belizeans who were detained by the Guatemala military on Saturday, February 28, have landed back in Belize. At 10:57 am the boat carrying the group of Belize Territorial Volunteers from Orange Walk docked at the Customs area in Punta Gorda town. Belizeans and media representatives who had gathered applauded as the boat arrived and a spontaneous singing of the Belize National Anthem broke out as the people disembarked from the vessel.

Belizeans illegally detained by Guatemala military safely back home
A group of 37 Belizeans who were detained illegally by Guatemala military in southern Belize returned to Punta Gorda town this morning. The group was welcomed to joyous applause and a spontaneous singing of the Belize National Anthem. A press conference is planned for this afternoon where Belize government officials will address the media.

Belizeans Back Home

A group of Belize Territorial Volunteers who were detained by the Guatemala military arrived in Belize on Sunday morning, March 1.

Click photos for more pictures!

Belizeans at Gracias Adios

They went to show they are patriotic. They were detained by an armed Guatemala Coastguard patrol. Men, women, children-BELIZEANS. They are now safe and returned to Belize, unharmed.

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Belmopan. March 2, 2015. The Government of Belize is very pleased and relieved that the group of 37 Belizeans who were held on Saturday, February 28th, 2015 were returned safely and promptly on Sunday March 1st, 2015 at 10:57am.

At 3:40 pm. on Saturday 28th, February 2015, the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs was alerted of reports that Guatemalan Armed Forces had detained a group of Belizean citizens who were returning from an excursion to the boundary marker at Gracias A Dios and that they were being taken against their will to Livingston. The Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister were immediately informed and they gave their directions.

Belizean authorities immediately, in accordance with standard operating procedures in managing such incidents, activated the lines of communication to firstly, guarantee the safety and welfare of the Belizeans on board the vessel and their immediate return; secondly, to ensure that they were afforded appropriate consular support; and thirdly, to ascertain the facts.

The Belizean Government's deep concern about the ongoing incident was raised with senior authorities of the Guatemalan Government and of the OAS.

Good cooperation through official channels facilitated the swift and prompt return of our citizens to Belize. The Government of Belize wishes to thank the diplomats and military officials in both Belize and Guatemala as well as the OAS for the exercise of prudence in the handling of this incident.

Initial reports suggest that by an error of navigation the Belizean vessel may have unintentionally entered into Guatemalan waters. These reports also suggest that the Guatemalan authorities may have erred in their judgment and placed the passengers of the vessel at risk by diverting the vessel to Livingston, Guatemala. Also the reports suggest that the Guatemalan military officials may have entered illegally into Belizean waters at the Sarstoon. The Government of Belize will be taking necessary measures to address these concerns and others with the Government of Guatemala including the request of a joint verification exercise along with the OAS. The findings of this verification exercise will guide our Government's further action.

The Government of Belize remains committed to a peaceful resolution of Guatemala's claims as agreed under the Special Agreement of 2008 and the continuing process under the auspices of the OAS to maintain peace and to promote confidence building measures between the two countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to caution that while there are no areas in Belize where Belizeans are not permitted to visit, those areas within the proximity of the border continue to remain the subject of an active controversy between Belize and the Republic of Guatemala. Official reports furnished to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the OAS reveal that the same group which organized this weekend's excursion had exactly one year ago planted palms on the wrong side of the border.

The Ministry maintains its view that it is imprudent and potentially dangerous for the organizers of excursions of this type to expose innocent Belizeans, especially minors and elderly, to the risk of inadvertently entering into Guatemalan territory. It must be borne in mind that any such entrance into Guatemalan territory constitutes a contravention of the Guatemalan immigration laws and can result in legal action being taken against those who contravene their laws.

Demonstration of Belizean presence, the exercise of our administration and jurisdiction, the deterrence, detection and interdiction of illegal activities in Belizean territory are best left to the official authorities.

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