Border beefed up to keep eye on possible invaders

Concerned that the government of Nicaragua might enlarge the territory it has invaded in northern Costa Rica, the central government has created a crisis committee to keep an eye on the border.

The committee includes the foreign minister, the security minister and the minister of the Presidencia.

The government said that a base of operations has been established with electronic monitoring at Barra del Colorado, the town nearest the incursion. About 100 police officers are there, it said.

Some 200 more police are distributed all along the northern border in at least 30 locations, and patrols are being stepped up on the Costa Rican rivers that feed the Río San Juan, which is the border between the two countries. The rivers are the Colorado, the Sarapiquí and San Carlos. The patrol is in the water and in the air. Video cameras are being installed.

The central government also is reestablishing the frontier police with 200 members of the Fuerza Pública, it said.

In addition, cables are being strung across key rivers to prevent boat traffic, presumably by invading Nicaraguan forces. The central government also said that new rules will be issued soon about travel on the rivers.

This also is the season when thousands of Nicaraguans leave Costa Rica and head home for the holidays., The central government has ordered an increase in the number of immigration agents at the border crossing points, it said.

The central government was surprised when Nicaraguan troops moved into the Isla Calero in northeastern Costa Rica. The area had been unprotected except for a few farming families there. And the central government took weeks to react.

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