The Associated Press
November 16, 2007
GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Guyana rushed troops and police to its western border Friday after Venezuelan soldiers allegedly blew up two Guyanese gold-mining dredges on a river near the frontier, the foreign ministry said.
According to the Guyanese military and reports reaching the capital, Venezuelan troops used helicopters and C-4 explosives to destroy the two river dredges Thursday. No one was injured.
Venezuelan Ambassador Dario Morandy was summoned to meet with Guyanese Foreign Minister Rudy Insanally on Friday, but no details of their discussion were immediately released. Venezuelan Foreign Ministry officials said there was no official comment on the matter.
Guyanese troops, police and land surveyors were to investigate whether the incident took place on the Wenamu River between the two countries or on the Cuyuni River in Guyana's territory.
The border region has seen trouble in recent years, as Venezuela's military has periodically staged operations to flush miners from its territory.
Last year, a Venezuelan national guard officer allegedly shot and killed a Guyanese miner on the Guyana side. No one has been arrested so far.
In the early 1990s, Guyana's military chased thousands of wildcat miners from neighboring Brazil. Most crossed over into Guyana and Suriname and have set up operations in the two small South American countries.
Tony Shields, secretary of the local miners association, and Commissioner of Mines Bill Woolford said they were also investigating Thursday's incident.