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Jun 14, 1999

B.D.F. soldier shoots Guatemalan, more deaths in Corozal

A Guatemalan was shot by a joint police/B.D.F. patrol after he reportedly threatened members of the patrol with a machete. According to the B.D.F., on Saturday 32 year old Mateo Paiz crossed from Guatemala into Belize near Arenal and refused to let police search his knapsack. The B.D.F. says as Paiz and his ten year old son were being escorted to security forces in Arenal he allegedly hit a B.D.F. soldier in the face and then he and the little boy fled back across the border into Guatemala. Paiz is reported to have crossed back into Belize a little later and began hiding behind the houses in the village. When the patrol tried to pick him up, he began to wield his machete and tried to chop one of the soldiers in the neck. The B.D.F. says Paiz was told to stop, but he continued to advance and a soldier shot him in the head with a single bullet. He was pronounced dead at San Ignacio Hospital. The Guatemalan newspaper Prensa Libre, however, is reporting a very different version of events and identifying the victim as Mateo Ramirez a rural evangelical minister. Prensa Libre says their sources tell them Ramirez was beaten without provocation by a member of the B.D.F. while on Guatemalan soil. The paper further alleges that the B.D.F. soldier who attacked Ramirez left the man lying there and returned moments later with a machine gun and shot him. Prensa Libre says the government of Guatemala will be lodging a “diplomatic protest” with the Belize Government.

Blood was also spilled in the Corozal District this weekend with two fatal traffic accidents, a possible suicide and the death of a homeless man. On Friday night around 8:30, 28 year old Vildo Tuyub was knocked down and killed in Santa Clara Village. Police have declined to give the name of the driver and say the case was not a hit and run and that no charges have been filed against the driver since it appears he may not be at fault. This conclusion appears to have angered several residents of the village, however, who are reported to have thrown rocks at cars that passed the area shortly after the accident.

In another tragedy a few hours later, around two a.m., an empty cane truck collided with a loaded cane truck at the boundary of Buena Vista and San Pablo. Twenty-seven year old Jose Estevan Llosa, a passenger in the full truck died at the scene. Two other occupants Lorenzo Victorin and Sabas Tzul were treated and released from the Corozal Hospital. Charges have yet to be filed against anyone as investigations into the cause of the collision continue.

Police are also trying to determine if another death in Corozal was a murder or suicide. Orbando Acosta was found shot to death at his family home on Consejo Road around two a.m. Saturday. Although police are still investigating to see if the wounds to Acosta’s neck were self-inflicted, they say family members reported he had been depressed.

Another man was also found dead on Saturday morning in Corozal town. Police say the decomposing body of Clarence Turner, a transient, was found at a home on Fourth Avenue. Police do not suspect foul play and say that Turner was last seen alive on Tuesday of last week.

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