GDF awaits report from Venezuelan officials on recent shooting incident– Brigadier Phillips

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The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) said it is awaiting a report from officials of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, who were recently dispatched to carry out an investigation into allegations that soldiers from the Spanish-speaking nation had opened fire on a group of Guyanese in the Cuyuni River.
Army Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips is quoted in today’s Guyana Times as saying that the Venezuelans recently dispatched their team to the border to carry out an investigation into the incident, which took place at the border. He said the officials there would have to report to their high command.

GDF Chief of Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips
GDF Chief of Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips

Late last month, Phillips confirmed that three mining officers of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) came under fire from the National Bolivarian Armed Forces while travelling in a boat in the Cuyuni River, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).
Venezuelan soldiers said they thought the occupants of the boat were smuggling contraband and fuel. While there were no injuries sustained during the shooting incident, the Guyana Government has strongly condemned the attack and demonstrated this by sending a strongly worded letter (Note Verbale) to the Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Ministry. It conveyed the Government of Guyana’s “grave concern over this incident and called on the Venezuelan Government to desist from such provocative and dangerous actions on Guyana’s borders”.
Police sources in Eteringbang had confirmed that shots were fired; however, none of the mining officers nor the captain of the boat were injured in the shooting incident.
The source said the officers were carrying out inspections and monitoring of gold mining camps in the Cuyuni when the Venezuelan soldiers opened fire on them.
The officers, the source added, were forced to seek cover by lying flat in the boat as the captain sought to get the attention of the Venezuelan troops with whom he was said to be familiar.
After the frightful incident, the GGMC officers proceeded to file a Police report at the Eteringbang outpost.
Government said last week that it was preparing to engage the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon after it received the preliminary report on the shooting incident.
“This matter will be brought to the attention of Secretary General of the United Nations in his capacity as Good Officer under the Geneva Agreement, and members of the UN and its Security Council will also be notified,” a statement from Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday stated.
Also, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said it has dispatched a Note Verbale to the Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Ministry, conveying the Government of Guyana’s “grave concern” over this incident.
The note also called on the Venezuelan Government to “desist from such provocative and dangerous actions on the Guyana border”, adding that such actions could only lead to a destabilisation of relations.

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