Venezuelan military beat Guyanese miners in NWD

A team of Guyanese soldiers and police were dispatched to the Yarakita River, near the border with Venezuela after members of the Venezuelan military assaulted Guyanese miners in the area.

According to reports from a source in Mabaruma, a group mining in the Bruk Falls, North West District were beaten by Venezuelan soldiers who crossed over to the Guyanese side on Friday afternoon. The source said the miners consisted of both men and women.

Another source stated that a villager in the area quickly alerted the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) and Guyanese soldiers and police were sent shortly thereafter.

GDF Chief-of-Staff Brigadier Mark Phillips told Stabroek News that the army had sent out a team of soldiers along with police to investigate. He said that the army was unaware of the number of Venezuelan soldiers who had carried out the attack but believed they could have been members of the National Guard which was stationed at that point along the border on the Venezuelan side.

Phillips said he had received information that it was a group of miners who had been allegedly beaten, although he was unaware of the circumstances surrounding the issue. The army was awaiting a report from the team that had been dispatched and after they received it they would take the relevant action.

President Donald Ramotar in a press briefing yesterday, said he had been alerted to the situation and that it was being monitored. “Our security forces are on it and we are waiting on reports,” he said.

Meanwhile, all efforts to contact Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Elisabeth Harper on the matter were unsuccessful.

Last year a group of Venezuelans accompanied by military personnel landed unannounced at Eteringbang on the Cuyuni River purportedly to carry out a survey. This was the same day Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro paid a state visit to this country to hold talks with President Donald Ramotar.

In the meantime the online edition of the Venezuelan daily El Universal reported on Friday that following a petition from the navy, a naval officer, Rear Admiral Blas Misticchio had been appointed the special commissioner for Guyana in charge of the Guyana Special Unit in the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The post was formerly occupied by a retired Vice-Admiral, but the navy had asked for a serving officer to replace him.

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