Guyana Defence Force (GDF) soldiers had objected to several Venezuelan soldiers eventually landing on Guyanese soil with their weapons although they were advised not to do so, officials here said Monday.
The group arrived on August 31, the same day that Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro was on a one-day state visit.
Speaking on strict condition of anonymity, the source said the GDF Commanding Officer at Eteringbang had advised the Venezuelan soldiers that they could not disembark the boat at Eteringbang with their guns.
While they agreed, sources said the several soldiers were later seen in Guyana with their guns, resulting in a remonstration between the soldiers of the two neighbouring countries. The Venezuelans subsequently apologised.
The source said the 45-member group included at least six uniformed Venezuelan soldiers, three ex-Venezuelan generals and others civilian-dressed persons.
Guyanese security services are said to be paying keen attention to growing unease among sections of the Venezuelan army that the Hugo Chavez cum Maduro administration has been taking a soft approach to sovereignty over the Essequibo Region.
While Guyanese police and soldiers followed the necessary border immigration and security controls, authorities in Georgetown believed that the Venezuelan group lied when they informed that they were visiting Eteringbang to investigate the origin of the people at San Martin, a Venezuelan community opposite Eteringbang.
The Venezuelan newspaper, El Universal, on Monday reported that the Venezuelans went on a mission crossing the Cuyaní River and into the Guyana-Venezuela disputed area accompanied by officers of the Venezuelan Army.
“We came here to carry out a civil exercise of sovereignty, but we do not understand what was Nicolás Maduro doing there (in Guyana),” said Law student Ricardo de Toma, a member of an organization called “My Map of Venezuela also Includes Our Essequibo” who took part in the expedition, along with administrator Jorge Luis Fuguett, and internationalist Rajihv Morillo.
De Toma recalled that in spite of the mining projects Guyana has been developing in the Essequibo disputed area with Venezuela, plus the granting of oil concessions in front of the Venezuelan Atlantic front, President Maduro “paid a visit (to Guyana) only to spread an ideological model.”