The hearing to clarify the legal situation of the three Bolivian soldiers arrested in Colchane (Chile) will take place on Saturday, September 11th.
The three officers were arrested yesterday morning while Chilean police were patrolling the town of Pisiga Carpa and were alerted by two people who said their vehicles had been stolen.
Which is a serious matter for the Chilean Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado, because the Bolivians were caught 15 kilometers from the border on Chilean territory, fired weapons of war and tried to steal vehicles, for the Bolivian Ministry of Defense it is a “dead end” with troops who have fulfilled their task of preventing smuggling and diplomatic measures will be taken to free them.
The Bolivians attended a hearing in the Pozo Almonte Guarantee Court yesterday which decided to grant the Tamarugal State Ministry’s request to detain them for three days.
“The Pozo Almonte Guarantee Court accepts the application from the Ministry of Public Affairs and has extended the detention of Bolivian soldiers. The formalization hearing was scheduled for Saturday, September 11th, ”said a publication by the Chilean judicial authority.
At the hearing, it was reported that the police, accompanied by the victims, found the buried trucks – one with multiple gunshot wounds in the body – and also found another victim indicating that Bolivian soldiers shot him and stole his Toyota Vehicle and recently left the site for the Salar de Coipasa.
“The prosecutor reported that the Carabineros were advancing towards the salt flats and they discovered three vehicles, one of which had the same characteristics as the one stolen from the last victim, and tried to control them, but they began to flee by shooting at the police “initiating an exchange of fire, only the Toyota vehicle in which the three soldiers were held with weapons finally reached, the other two cars managed to escape to Bolivia,” the document goes on to say.
The request to extend the military’s detention for a period of three days is for the completion of some pending litigation such as planimetric, photographic, ballistic and cartographic reports and fact reconstitution.
In Bolivia, the Ministry of Defense confirmed that the military was part of the Joint Task Force and was conducting an operation in the Pisiga-Colchane sector to seize vehicles that had illegally entered Bolivian territory. He also announced that diplomatic channels would be activated to “overcome this unfortunate impasse”.
The Chilean mayor requests a procedure by ordinary means
The Chilean Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado described the incident with the Bolivian military as “serious” because “the number of kilometers these people walk (in Chilean territory) is serious because they also shoot with their weapons”. of the war”.
According to the authorities, the Bolivian soldiers have advanced almost 15 kilometers on Chilean soil and expect their troops to “work together as much as the police and the Chilean army”.
According to Andrés Arenas, Prefect of Iquique, the vehicle was intercepted “two kilometers from the international political border”.
The prisoners were identified as Lieutenant Jaime Hervas, Second Lieutenant Niger Ponce, and Second Sergeant José Bautista Carvajal.
The Mayor of Colchane, Javier García, joined the criticism of the situation at the border and announced that he would put forward measures to prevent the Sebastián Piñera government from resolving the problem through diplomatic channels, as in previous years.
“Years ago, seven members of the Bolivian army were arrested and given a diplomatic exit. They were released practically decorated in the neighboring country and we don’t want that, ”said García.
Similar case in March 2017
In March 2017, a group of Bolivians, consisting of two soldiers and seven customs officers, was arrested on Chilean territory in a border section of Colchane, about 1,600 kilometers north of Santiago de Chile.
The nine officers were detained for three months in preventive detention and charged with violent robbery, possession of prohibited weapons and illegal border crossing.
After three months, they were expelled from Chilean territory after paying a fine of 43,000 euros.
At the hearing they were found guilty of smuggling.
In Bolivia, then President Evo Morales received them as heroes and even adorned them.