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Jan 30, 2004

Sheep butchered by intruders in Maskall

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A family in the village of Maskall in the Belize District woke up to a horrific scene this morning. Ten of their sheep had been stabbed or had their throats slashed sometime during the night and many of them were still writhing in pain and slowly dying. Today News 5 journeyed to the Castro farm as the family and concerned neighbours tried to figure out who killed the animals, and why.

Patrick Jones, Reporting

The carcasses of the slain livestock were strewn across his yard in Maskall Village. Thirty-eight year old Edmund Castro says the overnight incident has left his family shaken.

Edmund Castro, Owner of Slain Livestock

“This morning when we got up we saw five sheep lying down on the ground. And when went further to examine, we noticed there was at least ten sheep that was killed, viciously with stab wounds to the neck, cut. Some of their necks were cut in almost a Gestapo style slaying.”

But what would drive a person to brutally attack such humble creatures? Castro says from the way the sheep were found, it was easy to see this was no accident and may have been the result of his militancy for improved transportation for villagers in the Maskall area.

Edmund Castro

“My point was that we have no representation in Belize Rural North, especially through old road whereby it is almost criminal to have students paying in excess of one hundred and twenty dollars a month to attend high school, when the tuition for the month is only twenty-five or thirty-five dollars. And one of the complaint was that those dilapidated buses and the cost of the students getting to school, that was the main issue. And for the first time the Area Representative found himself face to face off with residents of the area discussing their displeasure with the way how he was handling things.”

“So I believe this is a stem from that meeting whereby they are trying to send a message to me. And to tell me “Castro back off.” They way how the kill these animals, some of them were not even dead up to six, seven o’clock this morning, they were still clinging unto life.”

And while he’s outraged at the crime, Castro says what is worse is that the police officers in the village are not helping.

Edmund Castro

“There are some evidence. We have a stone whereby the perpetrator probably used. There is a piece of metal over there that they probably used, and maybe if they had done some investigation, they could find out if indeed it’s a political crime or a hate crime. But to do no kind of investigation when the police was one of the first persons I went to, to come and examine and see what went down.”

Castro says the slaughter of almost his entire flock of sheep has cost him in excess of a thousand dollars. However, he fully intends to continue rearing sheep, which he uses for his own consumption or gives animals to friends and neighbours. Patrick Jones, for News 5.

Castro says the entire episode only served to make him more determined to continue to voice the concerns of the people of his area. In fact, he has announced his intention of challenging Area Representative Max Samuels for the Belize Rural North constituency on the U.D.P. ticket.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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