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Feb 29, 2000

Makeshift explosive found near Guatemalan Embassy

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While efforts to free the prisoners continue on the diplomatic and legal fronts, a bizarre incident Monday Night has added a new dimension to an already complicated hostage crisis. Around 7:40pm a loud bang was heard on “A” street in King’s Park. It seems that a small homemade incendiary device–better know as a bomb–exploded near a car that was parked on the street next door to the Guatemalan Embassy. The only damage was two flat tires caused by the one-inch nails that were packed into the homemade canister type explosive. Police, fire and BDF bomb squad personnel were dispatched to the area. No one was at the embassy at the time but Guatemalan Charge d’Affaires Carlos Avila arrived as soon as he was informed.

Carlos Avila, Charge d’Affaires, Guatemalan Embassy

“I received this phone call at my house asking if I was okay and I said, yes I am okay but I ask why, right. She said I was told that there was a bomb explosion at the embassy. So I came here as soon as I could and found that the police were here already waiting so they searched the area and they found that a canister was prepared with some nails one inch long had exploded near the end of the embassy in the vehicle over there. Probably they say it was meant to set the car on fire and provoke something there. The police said that the bomb could have hit someone or the nails could have killed that person because of the velocity of the impact.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

In light of what is taking place in Guatemala is this something you all expected?

Carlos Avila, Charge d’Affaires, Guatemalan Embassy

“Well ah, because of the soldiers, well no I had expected this for the last two weeks. I knew that something was going to happen. I thought that they were going to throw rotten eggs or something like that but not a bomb. I suppose the soldiers’ issue exasperated the senses of the people.”

A Belize Government release appealed for calm and denounced all acts of violence in connection with the illegal detention of four Belizeans in Guatemala. No one has claimed credit for the bombing and investigations continue. Police confirm that they received phone calls just prior to the incident saying there would be an explosion outside, then another inside. Security has been increased at the King’s Park Location.

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