Massacre unit trained by British
Saturday 28 October 1995
Guatemalan soldiers who massacred 10 former refugees and wounded scores more earlier this month belonged to a unit that was trained by British troops. Ammunition the unit used could also have been British.
In a written reply to a parliamentary question from the Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, Nicholas Soames, junior defence minister, confirmed that "a UK training team based in Puerto Rico trained a Guatemalan contingent preparing to take part in the multi-national force in Haiti".
The Guatemalan force in Haiti was drawn from the Kaibiles, a force known for its gross and persistent violations of human rights in the 40- year Guatemalan civil war, which has claimed 150,000 victims. Given their reputation, the use of the Kaibiles in Haiti last year was received privately with disgust by United Nations staff in Port-au-Prince.
News of British involvement with the Kaibiles also undermines the argument offered to British critics of military involvement with Guatemala by the Foreign Office in the sense that exposure to the best British military practice would improve the human-rights record of Guatemala's army.
The 26-man platoon that killed the refugees - Mayan Indians celebrating the first anniversary of their return from asylum in Mexico - at Xaman, in Alta Verpaz department, was also drawn from the Kaibiles, and was commanded by Second Lieutenant Camilo Antonio Lacan. The men of the platoon have been charged with murder.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the UN Secretary-General, urged an investigation and punishment of the guilty, sentiments echoed by the European Union. The Guatemalan Defence Minister, Mario Enriquez, resigned and the local commander was replaced. Yesterday the Department of Trade and Industry disclosed that Britain had resumed arms exports to Guatemala, suspended in the 1970s, when neighbouring Belize was a British colony claimed by Guatemala.
- 1 Ashya King missing: Police hunt five-year-old boy with brain tumour snatched from Southampton hospital by his parents
- 2 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
- 5 Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Ashya King missing: Police hunt five-year-old boy with brain tumour snatched from Southampton hospital by his parents
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
Californian drought is so severe it's 'causing the ground to move'
Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...
£110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator (SC Cleared), Cisco Go...
£200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...
£400 - £500 per day: Orgtel: Test Manager - Banking - West Yorkshire - £400-£5...