Shooting Incident in the Chiquibul National Park

Announcement Date: April 21, 2016

Belmopan. April 21, 2016. The Government of Belize has requested the support of
the Organization of American States (OAS) in conducting a verification exercise to
ascertain the facts surrounding the shooting incident which occurred on Wednesday,
20th April, 2016 in the Cebada area of the Chiquibul National Park in western Belize.
According to initial reports, Belizean security forces were on a patrol to investigate
illegal clearings in the protected area. At about 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 20th April
they detained without incident, 33-year-old Guatemalan national Jose Maria Antonio
Reyes, who was found conducting illegal activities in our Chiquibul National Park.
As darkness descended later in the day, at about 7:00 p.m. the patrol came under fire.
The patrol returned fire in self-defence and decided to depart from the location which
is approximately 580 meters east of the border. Prior to departure they conducted
their standard clearance procedure and discovered the seemingly lifeless body of a
minor.
The body was later identified as that of Julio Alvarado, he was transported to the
nearest hospital where he was pronounced dead. A post mortem was scheduled to be
conducted on Thursday, 21st April, 2016 in Belize City.
Jose Maria Antonio Reyes was transferred to the custody of the San Ignacio Police
where he awaits an appearance before a Magistrate.
The Government of Belize very much regrets any loss of life and will be conducting
its own investigation. The Government remains concerned about illegal activities
along our borders and will continue to engage the OAS and the Government of
Guatemala with a view to stemming the illicit activities of Guatemalan civilians who
are becoming increasingly more violent toward our security and law enforcement
authorities.