The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) announced on 17 February that it was deploying troops and increasing patrolling in border areas with Venezuela due to increasing presence of armed Venezuelan gangs smuggling weapons in exchange for food.
Venezuela claims two-thirds of Guyana’s territory west of the Essequibo River, an area rich in hydrocarbon and minerals, and this comes at a time when Brazil and Colombia have also deployed troops to border areas. Since 12 February, both Brazil and Colombia have at least doubled their force levels in Cúcuta in Norte de Santander and Boa Vista in the Roraima state, respectively.
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