President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the US is sending armed soldiers to the southern border after Mexican soldiers recently “pulled guns” on US troops.
Trump appeared to be referring to an April 13 incident in which Mexican troops reportedly questioned and pointed their weapons at two US troops conducting surveillance on the border.
“Mexico’s Soldiers recently pulled guns on our National Guard Soldiers, probably as a diversionary tactic for drug smugglers on the Border. Better not happen again!” he tweeted.
“We are now sending ARMED SOLDIERS to the Border. Mexico is not doing nearly enough in apprehending & returning!”
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said his government would analyze the incident, take into account Trump’s comments, and act “in keeping with law within the framework of our sovereignty.”
“We are not going to fall for any provocation,” he told reporters in Mexico City.
“The most important thing is to tell (Trump) we are not going to fight with the government of the United States. The most important thing is to say we want a relationship of mutual respect and cooperation for the sake of development.”
A Pentagon official told AFP some of the 2,900 active duty and 2,000 National Guard troops deployed at the border have always been armed “for force protection only.”
“We are always reviewing our policies,” the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
US Northern Command said the two US soldiers involved in the April 13 incident were in an unmarked vehicle conducting “border support operations” on the American side of the border when they were approached by five to six Mexican military personnel.
The incident occurred north of the Rio Grande in Texas, but in an unmarked area south of the border fence.
An inquiry “revealed that the Mexican military members believed that the US Army soldiers were south of the border. However, the US soldiers were appropriately in US territory,” NORTHCOM said.
Defense officials told CNN the Mexican soldiers pointed their weapons at the US troops, removed a soldier’s sidearm and returned it to their unmarked vehicle.
The command’s statement said only that the Mexican soldiers departed the area “after a brief discussion between the soldiers from the two nations.”
“Throughout the incident, the US soldiers followed all established procedures and protocols,” it added.