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Costa Rica steps up border surveillance amid new tensions with Nicaragua

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Costa Rica steps up border surveillance amid new tensions with Nicaragua

2010-10-24 06:09:47 GMT+7 (ICT)

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA (BNO NEWS) -- Costa Rica on Saturday deployed heavily armed police patrols on its northern border with Nicaragua, two day after a report claimed that Nicaraguan workers illegally entered its territory while dredging a river.

San Jose on Thursday lodged a strong protest to Harold Rivas, Nicaragua's ambassador to Costa Rica, saying that his country was throwing sediment removed by dredging the San Juan river in the country's north, affecting the "national sovereignty". Local residents also complained that the Nicaraguan military raided a Costa Rican ranch.

In response, President Laura Chinchilla's government sent at least 70 police officers with M-16 rifles and M-60 machine guns to the border area.

The San Juan River runs a long stretch of the border with Costa Rica, which initially opposed the dredging, but later acknowledged Managua's sovereign right to do the job. Managua has said that these works will remove accumulated sediment, which makes navigation difficult on the largest river in Central America.

Although the Costa Rican police officers who were sent to the border area were heavily armed, they don't have military training. Costa Rica disbanded its army in 1948.

Both countries share a border of 300 kilometers (186 miles), from the Pacific to the Caribbean.


-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2010-10-24

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