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Apr 1, 2016

Was B.D.F. Staff Sergeant Richard Lambey Injured by Friendly Fire?

The government has not said much concerning the shooting of Staff Sergeant Richard Lambey that took place in the Chiquibul on Holy Saturday, but tonight, News Five has received further details on the report made by the B.D.F. to the Ministry of National Security. That report is dated March thirty-first, 2016.  According to the B.D.F., after interviews were conducted with members of the Camp Valentin patrol, it has been determined that the patrol was deliberately ambushed by seven men, believed to be Guatemalan nationals and armed with three point twenty-two firearms. The patrol, according to the report, was conducting a water resupply when it came under attack three hundred and forty-three meters east of the border. We can also report that the patrol commander identified three separate groups of men on both sides of the track; one of them was carrying a firearm believed to be a point twenty-two rifle. There was an exchange of fire in which Lambey was injured. But according to the report, the other members of the patrol did not witness the exchange of fire. But there is a telling part to the report because in a search of the area, twenty-six expended cases belonging to the B.D.F. and one point twenty-two empty case were discovered. The latter is believed to be from the opposing armed men. The water point near Valentin Camp is the only suitable water point east of the border and it is believed that the Guatemalans intentionally ambushed the patrol in retaliation of the arrest of Elder Esduardo Espana Perez on March third, 2016. The B.D.F. report states that, “future unfortunate incidents may not necessarily be by means of an ambush, but by means of poisoning the patrol’s water source.” This afternoon, we asked the P.U.P. advisor on the Belize/Guatemala Territorial Dispute to comment on what is taking place in the Chiquibul. Eamon Courtenay says that a more proactive approach is required.

 

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Opposition Advisor, Belize/Guatemala Dispute

“In this particular case, the shooting of a Belize Defense Force officer was not an act of state; it wasn’t somebody from the Guatemalan military, so you have to note that distinction. My concern—and I have not been able to get the full information—is this. I’m told that there are certain standing procedures; no B.D.F. officer in that type of area should be by himself, nobody should be going for water by himself. We are told, and I emphasize that I don’t have all the information, but what I am told is that this particular B.D.F. officer was probably by himself without any support. So it seems that when the incident took place he did not have any other officer with him. So it appears that there may be some sort of a problem in the way people are operating. That aside, it highlights what we have been saying for years now; there’s an increase presence, there is an increase in the amount of criminal activity and it is escalating to the point where we have criminal elements shooting our B.D.F. officers. It provides the potential for military confrontation. In the budget debate, we called for a bigger presence of Belize Defense Force on the border and the border areas. We called for more observation posts, we called for more support of Friends of Conservation and Development and others. We have to aggressively tackle what has happened on the ground. What is happening in the Sarstoon continues to be a very serious matter; it requires urgent attention and we in the People’s United Party have been pushing the government to ensure that the meeting that was supposed to happen immediately after the Easter, happens very quickly and that we agree some arrangement with Guatemala as to how the Sarstoon is going to be used. Premise—and I emphasize this—premise in full respect for Belizean territorial integrity and sovereignty and premise on the full unconditional right for the Belize Defense Force to enter, use, navigate, go upstream and come down the Sarstoon. Those are unconditional and non-negotiable and I am concerned that time seems to be slipping and we are not dealing with this in an urgent way. And the same things happen in the Chiquibul and in the other areas along the border. We need urgent action, we need a plan, we need a strategy to deal with this issue otherwise we are going to have more loss of life.”

 

The official report so far has said that Lambey was shot three times to the arm and abdomen, but as the report says there was just one expended shell from the armed men. So who fired the other shots?

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1 Response for “Was B.D.F. Staff Sergeant Richard Lambey Injured by Friendly Fire?”

  1. ragis says:

    The Guatemalan Citizens have been aggressing the Bdf for year now and either government done nothing to solve that problem.
    They are even going further with even ambushing a bdf patrol.
    In My humble opinion the adjacency zone should be respected by either party and that doesn’t give Guats civilian the rite to enter that area,who of them came in that area is illegal entry in to sovereignty of this nation.
    something needs to be done before there is more blood shed along the border.”URGENTLY”

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