Massacre of Indigenous People in Southern Colombia
News from Colombia |
on: Friday, 5 November 2010
Four members of the Awa indigenous community in the southern Colombian province of Narino have been massacred in the latest attack against Colombia’s indigenous people. Another indigenous man, a member of the Yukpa group, was also killed in northeast Colombia, whilst the numbers of threats against indigenous groups and their leaders all over the country continues to rise.
Last night’s massacre of three Awa men and an Awa woman was carried out by unidentified attackers on the road between the towns of Junin and Tumaco. However, all four had allegedly been detained by police officers earlier in the day. The security forces are also suspected of involvement in a massacre of at least eight Awa people, including three children, in the same area last August. In that case one of the victims had, shortly before her death, denounced how her husband had been assassinated by the Colombian Army.
In a separate incident in the northeast province of Cesar, the Yukpa indigenous people, who live in reserves along Colombia’s border with Venezuela, have reported that one of their leaders has been killed by men attempting to colonise their land. In a detailed statement on the situation in the region, the Yukpa explain how tensions between members of their community and outsiders attempting to take control over their lands have resulted in several violent confrontations in recent months.
In addition to the killings there has also been a surge in death threats made against several indigenous groups with two leaders of the Nasa people in Cauca province, as well as their families, being threatened last month.
October also saw threats made against various female leaders of the Wayuu indigenous group in the province of La Guajira after they organised an event to commemorate the 2004 ‘Bahia Portete’ massacre in which rightwing paramilitaries, aided by the Colombian Army, murdered 12 Wayuu people and disappeared another 30. The threats, say the women, have been arriving regularly for some months, whilst in one incident shots were allegedly fired at the car of a leading member of the community.
Just yesterday, Richard Howitt, a British Member of the European Parliament, wrote to the Colombian authorities asking for details of an incident in which several members of the Nasa indigenous group were allegedly tortured by members of the police in the southern Colombian province of Putumayo. Last month Justice for Colombia reported on the murder of another indigenous leader, also a member of the Nasa group.