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Sep 27, 2002

Police kill 2 in Toledo logging dispute

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Details, as we frequently say, are sketchy, but what we do know is that an armed confrontation in the Toledo village of Otoxha has resulted in the death of two villagers and the wounding of three others. The victims were all shot by police. Dead are Alfredo Teck and Seriano Choc, while the wounded–and we don’t know how badly–include Santiago Putul, Sebastian Putul and Ojenio Choc. The official version, as related by police press officer G. Michael Reid, is that on Thursday forestry officials uncovered an illegal logging operation near Otoxha. The forest officers, Alberto Garcia and Bonifacio Tut, returned this morning with two police officers, but according to Reid, the police came under attack by a group of approximately twenty-five men armed with machetes. It was when they fired in self-defence that the deaths and injuries resulted. The two policemen have been identified as Corporal Eaton Williams and Constable John Mas. Williams was wounded in the clash, losing three of his fingers and nearly losing two others. Although Otoxha lies not far from the Guatemalan border, we are informed that all of the people involved in this morning’s incident were Belizeans.

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