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Oct 11, 2016

Coast Guard issues challenge to sea pirates after kidnapping

Admiral John Borland

Over the weekend of October first, a group of fishermen from the north were robbed at gunpoint while out at sea in southern Belize. It was reported that the fishers were approached by an unknown vessel and the occupants, who were said to be well armed, proceeded to rob and assault the fishermen. In an attempt to escape the attackers, the fishermen jumped overboard, but only two of them made it to shore. It has been over a week and the third fisherman hasn’t been found and is still presumed to be missing, although chances of his survival are slim. Today we spoke with Commander of the Belize National Coast Guard, John Borland, who says that they are the lead on a taskforce working with the Fisheries Department to bring the perpetrators to justice. So, what has happened since then? Well, Borland says that the brazen attackers have sent a message to the Coast Guards and Borland says he has responded and is ready and waiting.

 

John Borland, Commander, BNCG

“The Coast Guard has given the fisheries department its commitment and the people of Belize should be reassured that the Coast Guard will be out there now in a sustained manner,  long term, of course, Working with that fishing fleet that works in that particular area. We know the incident took place in Colson Caye, which is approximately fifteen miles east of Dangriga near to the popular spot that we all know as Tobacco Caye. The fishermen reported to us that, yes, they were approached. They were assaulted; they were aggressed. They were beaten. They were tortured. A couple of them managed to escape by their own bravery and thus the information was relayed to us. One person remain missing. We do not wish to disclose the name of that person for the sake of confidentiality and respect to the family. But we remain on the search for that person and remain on the search for those, as I said I refuse to call them pirates, but it is a case of coastal piracy and robbery. It remains now on the forefront of our mission. One of our mission priorities. We have a team that works out there that is gonna be deployed continuously and relieved until we can bring this situation to normalcy and to bring those to justice who are responsible for the loss of life.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Sir, do you believe these men are locals?”

 

John Borland, Commander, BNCG

“Yes. Certainly. Certainly. All evidence suggest that that they are locals from the nearby community. They have sent messages to us. They want an engagement with us and I have promised them they will have an engagement with us and they are not gonna come out as happy as they are going into that engagement.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What kind of engagement, sir?”

 

John Borland, Commander, BNCG

“If they want a fight with us, they can have it. You see, if they believe they can make a life out of terrorizing, threatening, brutalizing, killing, raping, pillaging the honest citizens that provide for this country, for this nation, for their families, then they are wrong. The Coast Guard is here to protect those people. If it means to coming to a head with them and taking them out of the game, then we are going to do it.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“Do you believe it is the same men who are responsible for other little or smaller incidents that are happening?”

 

John Borland, Commander, BNCG

“I believe so. I believe it is a ring of illegal activities. A string of local terror. I believe it is the same small time players that have been on the down low for some time but are now embolden because of the lack of presence in that area. But we are going to take back what is rightfully ours.”

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