On Wednesday, October 2, President Jimmy Morales announced the extension of the state of siege for an additional 30 days in six departments. The affected departments include Alta Verapaz, El Progreso, Izabal, Petén, Baja Verapaz, and Zacapa, and 22 municipalities.
The provision is implemented to continue the fight against drug trafficking and related crime, following an event in which soldiers were ambushed by suspected drug traffickers. The state of siege was first declared on Wednesday, September 4.
A heightened security presence and an increase in operations targeting drug traffickers are likely to continue during the extension. Further engagements between security forces and suspected drug traffickers are also possible in the near term.
A military patrol was ambushed by suspected drug traffickers in El Estor (Izabal department) on September 3. The soldiers were investigating an aircraft that landed at a clandestine runway when they were attacked. According to the army, three soldiers were killed and two are still missing following the ambush.
The state of siege reduces constitutional rights, restricts the right to protest and gather in groups, and curfews may be imposed.
Individuals in the abovementioned departments, and Guatemala more generally, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, anticipate heightened security measures and an increased security presence, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
Copyright and Disclaimer