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Jun 27, 2013

B.D.F. explains the rules of engagement in illegal border crossing

David Jones

On Wednesday, we reported that the European Union and the Canadian Government donated global positioning systems to the Belize Defense Force and the Guatemalan military. B.D.F. Commander, Lieutenant Colonel David Jones and his Guatemalan counterpart were on hand to receive the donation. The equipment will be used for accurate border patrols. But in the wake of a recent armed confrontation inside the Chiquibul Forest, Commander Jones explained the rules of engagement employed by B.D.F. personnel during conflict with Guatemalan poachers. Guatemalan national, Edgar Alexander Sacasa, was the most recent to be injured and coupled with the shooting of other illegal hunters over the past year has prompted many questions regarding the deadly use of force by Belizean soldiers.  According to Jones, the same directives would apply if Belizeans were to venture off onto Guatemalan soil and find themselves in hostilities with the neighboring army.

 

Lt. Col. David Jones, Commander, Belize Defense Force

“When soldiers are working along the border, first of all they think about protection of their lives because when Guatemalans are operating inside Belize they are looking after their personal livelihood.  Sometimes they would protect it with their lives but when it comes to close encounters with BDF and Guatemalan civilians we try to talk to them initially.  We try to ensure that there is a level of escalation of force before it ends in something fatal.  So when we talk to them and they respond aggressively then the soldiers, of course, would take out their weapon and try to respond in kind and in the past we’ve had three fatalities last year.  We’ve had a shooting incident just a couple weeks ago where this Guatemalan was shot four times by a Belize Defense Force soldier.  When those incidents happen we try to talk to them but when they respond by shooting at the soldiers we will respond in kind.  The soldiers will have to defend themselves.  There will be incidents where if we can we’ll try and disarm them but if it is such a dangerous situation where we cannot disarm them then we’d have to respond with deadly force.”

 

Reporter

“Could you, we’re trying to get some information from the Guatemalans.  Could you comment on their policy on deadly use of force to neutralize threats from such Belizeans, especially if Belizeans were going armed into their lands?”

 

Lt. Col. David Jones

“Well they would be similar like us.  If anyone is breaching the laws inside Guatemala there is a level of escalation of force that you try to use.  If you can disarm someone you do it, but if someone fires a weapon at you using deadly force against you, you have to respond in kind.  So, similarly the Guatemalan armed forces, if our civilians would be over there and they would shoot at the Guatemalan military they would respond in kind.  It would be the same as for us.”

 

On June tenth, it was reported in the Guatemalan press that Special Forces, known as Kaibiles, would be deployed into the Adjacency Zone, where they would assist in conducting routine border patrols.

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1 Response for “B.D.F. explains the rules of engagement in illegal border crossing”

  1. Rocket says:

    Now this is what i call being a General. Speaking for it’s country no mater what. not like those hypocrites ministers that would be in favor of the Guatemalans.

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