Belizean stuck at airport during coup attempt is safe

A Belizean was stuck at the international airport in Istanbul, Turkey during the attempted coup in that country on Friday.  Martha Carrillo, who is the Country Representative for PASMO Belize which implements health programs to prevent HIV, was travelling to Durban, South Africa to attend an international HIV conference. Her family is rooting for her as she has been nominated for the award as healthcare giver of exceptional service award from the International AIDS society. While other Belizeans were also traveling to Durban, we are told she was the only one in-transiting through that airport. Carillo’s 10 hour layover turned into a 16-hour horror for her and her family in Belize. Annie Carillo, Martha’s sister, tells us in a telephone interview what Martha told her when they re-established contact and how she eventually got out safely:

Annie Carillo, Sister of Martha Carillo

“I’m still not sure of the route. I don’t think she will be coming back through Turkey, I think there will be some changes. As far as I know she said that she was the only one from Belize who was in Turkey that was going to the conference in South Africa.”

  Martha Carillo was at last report on the ground in Paris, France, after flying out to London, England. According to Annie Carillo, her sister will surely not go the way of Istanbul when she returns to Belize later this week:

Annie Carillo, Sister of Martha Carillo

“She and a couple other people were in an ice-cream shop and when the ciaos started they were put in a storage room for protection. We had time to call the Minister of Foreign Affairs and they had time to notify the British High Commissioner and that’s how everything started. She said that she was in Turkey and she was in transit to go to South Africa for the conference. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and the British High Commissioner decided that it was best for them to get her out of Turkey and go to London. From there she would get in contact with the person that she was going to represent at the conference.”

 The Middle Eastern country’s government was fighting back an attempted coup by a section of the national military.  Nearly 300 persons have been killed by fighting in several of the country’s main cities and at least six thousand persons, mainly military personnel believed to be involved, were arrested.

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