Guatemalan incursion on the Belize side of the Sarstoon River
Monday, September 19th, 2022
Press Release – Ministry of National Defence and Border Security – September 18, 2022 – The Ministry of National Defence and Border Security hereby informs the public that on Sunday, September 18th, 2022, a joint Belize Defence Force and Belize National Coast Guard patrol deployed to the Sarstoon and encountered five Guatemalan Armed Forces maritime vessels on the northern side of the Sarstoon Island. The joint patrol also observed five civilian vessels operated by members of the Belize Territorial Volunteers.
Mr. Wil Maheia, leader of the Belize Territorial Volunteers, informed the joint patrol that they had placed two Belizean National Flags on the Sarstoon Island, which members of the Guatemalan Armed Forces later removed. The Guatemalans informed the joint patrol that the entire area belongs to Guatemala; however, the joint patrol commander informed the Guatemalan Armed Forces that they were in Belizean territory and that they should leave. Shortly thereafter, the Belize Territorial Volunteers and the Guatemalan Armed Forces vessels departed. The Belize Defence Force and Belize National Coast Guard joint patrol then left the area to the Sarstoon Forward Operating Base to maintain military presence.
The Ministry of National Defence and Border Security wishes to inform the public that the joint deployment continues to conduct regular patrols from Barranco Village to the Sarstoon Island, and remains vigilant to ensure the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Belize.
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