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Venezuelan soldiers harass Guyanese

The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) is probing an alleged altercation between Venezuelan soldiers and a number of Guyanese civilians in the north west district, Chief of Staff Brigadier Mark Phillips said Saturday.

He insisted that no Guyanese soldiers were involved in the incident because none of his country’s military personnel were stationed there.

“We have some reports of an altercation that we are investigating…Nothing to do with Guyanese soldiers. There are no Guyanese soldiers stationed there,” Phillips told Demerara Waves Online News.

The incident occurred Friday afternoon about 1:2-0 at “Bruk Up Falls” located on the Guyana side of the bordering Amacuro River, some six hours by boat from the remote Amerindian community of Yarakita in the North West District.

Another well-placed source said Guyanese authorities were investigating reports that the Venezuelan soldiers beat several civilian Guyanese.

According to reports out of the Mabaruma Sub-Region, several Guyanese men and a woman, mainly persons who trade items in the area, were held captive at the Tucupita Delta on the Venezuelan side.

They were taken from “Bruk-Up Falls” after more than two dozen armed soldiers attached to the Venezuelan military descended on the location and proceeded to beat and handcuff the Guyanese men who were in the area at the time.

Sources said GDF soldiers stationed at Mabaruma were dispatched to the area late Friday afternoon and reportedly confronted their counterparts at the location as relatives and colleagues of those held captive levelled accusations of frequent harassment by the Venezuelan military.

The Venezuelans accused locals of illegally occupying lands on Spanish soil, mainly for mining purposes.

But sources close to the area reported Friday evening that “Bruk-Up Landing” is located on Guyana’s soil and the Venezuelan soldiers would frequently target Guyanese, since many locals would cross over the borders at the location, trading items such as sugar for oil and gold in the process.

For years locals have been trading between the two locations since the gold rich Polvo De Oro area on the North Eastern side of Venezuela is located within miles of border.

In the past, Venezuelan security personnel have entered Guyanese territory and in one case even shot dead a Guyanese man who was shipping fuel.