Police respond to conflict over alleged invasion of native land

Fuerza Pública officers clamped down on a dispute Tuesday over land in Cedral de Salitre, Buenos Aires de Puntarenas.

The conflict involves an allegation that non-natives are trying to take over land that is part of the local reserve.

The police officers were acting on an order issued by a judge in Buenos Aires where the case is in court.

Among those at the scene were Celso Gamboa, a vice minister of security, and Luis Fallas of the office of the defensora de los habitantes.

Tuesday night in the Juzgado Penal de Buenos Aires a judge
declined to order restrictions on the individuals who the Fiscalía de Asuntos Indígenas considers land invaders. A fiscal or prosecutor had asked the judge to have the land restored to its original condition. There is a court order saying that a fence must be removed.

The persons who are occupying the land said that they have held ownership for a long time, said the Fuerza Pública.

The prosecutor is attempting to press a criminal charge, but the judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence, said the Poder Judicial.

Police were not there to adjudicate the situation but simply to maintain order, they said. The dispute arose Sunday when the two groups had a confrontation

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