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Venezuelan military chopper lands at Kaikan, Essequibo

Guyanese authorities were Thursday night still probing the landing of a Venezuelan military helicopter at Kaikan, a gold-bearing community in the Essequibo region.

Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Brigadier Mark Phillips told Demerara Waves Online News that the chopper landed at about 10:45 Wednesday morning.

He said two armed men dressed in military uniforms exited the helicopter and spoke with two women before leaving Guyana.

The Head of the GDF said investigators have so far learnt that the military personnel asked the women whether they landed at San Juan, a community just across the border in Venezuela. “They were dressed in military type uniform and they had weapons. Based on the information we have, it is a military helicopter,” he told Demerara Waves.

He said the Guyana government has been informed of the occurence. The landing of the Venezuelan military helicopter in Guyana came one day after the David Granger-led administration announced the start of a six-month operation by police and soldiers to suppress crime, prepare for a terrorist attack and monitor the borders with Venezuela and Suriname. Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said Wednesday that one of the considerations for deploying more troops to the border was the December 6 parliamentary elections in Venezuela.

Border tensions between the two countries boiled over less than six months ago after Exxon-Mobil announced the discovery of a huge high quality oil deposit offshore Essequibo.

Guyana awaits word from United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon about whether the controversy over the 1899 Arbitral Tribunal Award should be referred to the World Court.

Prior to this latest border spat, there have been incursions into Guyana’s territory by Venezuelan security personnel even shooting to death a fuel smuggler several years ago.