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Dodgy Google map blamed for military incursion

A Nicaraguan military commander blamed Google Maps for his apparent invasion of neighbouring Costa Rica.

Commander Eden Pastora, an erstwhile leading Sandinista revolutionary, led his troops into Costa Rican territory, tearing down a flag and replacing it with a Nicaraguan one, according to a report in Costa Rican daily la Nacion.

President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla told the nation on television last night that the "armed forces of Nicaragua raided Calero Island in the Costa Rican province of Limon."

"And they are still there," she said.

She said the forces had set up camp, raised the Nicaraguan flag and were removing silt from the San Juan river and dumping it on Costa Rican soil.

The annoucement caused outrage in the country, but Nicaragua claimed it was all an innocent mistake.

Pastora who claimed to be on a river-cleaning mission said: "Look at the satellite photo on Google and there you can see the border. In the last 3,000 metres, the two banks belong to Nicaragua. From there towards El Castillo, the border is on the right bank, it's clear."

But it appears Google's map is inaccurate an does not follow the internationally agreed boundaries. Microsoft's Bing mapping is more accurate, La Nacion notes.

A Google spokesperson told the paper the outfit was clueless as to how the eror could have come about.

In her address, President Chinchilla appealed to Costa Ricans to "remain calm". The country has no official military and, according to the New Economics Foundation, ranks first in the Happy Planet Index. It plans to become the first carbon neutral country by 2021 and is rated as the "greenest" country in the world.