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Venezuela denies its soldiers fire at vessel with GGMC officers

Last Updated on Friday, 10 June 2016, 12:13 by Denis Chabrol

Venezuela on Friday denied that its soldiers shot at a boat ferrying mines officers of the Guyana Geology and Mines
Commission late last month, saying that it was part of an “international media campaign.”

The Guyana government has since formally protested the incident that the Guyana Defence Force and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said ocurred on May 31, 2016 in the Cuyuni River about one mile from the
Eteringbang Police Station. No one was injured.

However, the Venezuelan embassy in Georgetown issued a statement bluntly rejecting news reports that such an incident ever occurred. “It is important to note that the investigations carried out by the Venezuelan military authorities have not reported of any incident in the the above-mentioned area and our military units confirm not having carried out any military exercise in that location,” the embassy said in a statement.

The Venezuelan government insisted that the news reports were false “since the Venezuelan military forces have not been involved in any incident”

Guyana has been engaging in a vigorous international and domestic campaign to inform about Venezuela’s claim to the Essequibo Region and the Atlantic sea offshore that area.

The neighbouring South American countries have been at loggerheads for more than one year ever since ExxonMobil announced that it had discovered a significant oil deposit offshore Guyana.

Venezuela had responded by unilaterally extending its maritime zone, and at one stage even moved troops near the border with Guyana. President Nicolas Maduro later told the United Nations General Assembly that that was part of an anti-narcotics operation at its borders with Guyana and Colombia.

At one stage, Venezuela had refused to accredit Guyana’s Ambassador, Cheryl Miles and had recalled its Ambassador from Georgetown to analyse the relations between the two countries.