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Colombia, Nicaragua clash over maritime border

posted by Adriaan Alsema

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Nicaragua

Colombia and Nicaragua clashed Thursday over a Nicaraguan boat that refused order by the Colombian Navy to leave disputed territory in the Caribbean.

The civilian boat, who according to Managua was doing scientific research, was found in what Colombia considers its waters on Wednesday.

Colombian naval units confronted the Nicaraguan boat and demanded that it withdraw, but the skipper of the MedePesca III refused, citing “clear instructions from the government of Nicaragua to continue with his purpose and follow his course,” Bogota said earlier Thursday.

In response, “Nicaragua denounces this violation of national sovereignty as well as these kinds of unfriendly attitudes that violate the principles of international coexistence,” foreign ministry legal adviser Cesar Vega said later in the day.

According to the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry, two Colombian warships and a C-130 Hercules aircraft have been harassing the ship and attempting to prevent the crew from conducting its research. Managua demanded an “immediate cessation” of what it called hostile activities by Colombia.

The International Court of Justice is currently considering the competing claims of Managua and Bogota to the six keys surrounding the Colombian islands of San Andres and Providencia.

The ICJ has already confirmed Colombian sovereignty over San Andres and Providencia, part of an archipelago that lies 480 miles from mainland Colombia and 140 miles from the coast of Nicaragua.

Besides the six keys, Nicaragua claims some 19,305 square miles of waters surrounding the islets.

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