Indigenous Governor Assassinated in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 2 October 2008

In the latest violence against indigenous people in the southern Colombian region of Cauca, a senior indigenous leader has been shot and killed shortly after receiving a string of death threats. In a statement denouncing the murder, the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) has blamed the violence on "spheres of the central government of Colombia".

Raul Mendoza, the governor of the 'El Penon' indigenous reserve was murdered in the capital of Cauca, Popayan, at around 4pm on September 28th by unidentified assassins. A former member of the Council of Chiefs of the CRIC, he had been leading a campaign to have formal ownership of indigenous lands turned over to the communities living on them. As a result of this work he had received numerous death threats, but despite numerous requests, the authorities had not provided him with any protection.

The killing came despite an urgent August 22nd public statement from the CRIC specifically requesting that the Government act to protect people in the 'El Penon' reserve. It also follows the assassination of human rights activist Ever Gonzalez, also in Cauca, less than two weeks ago. See 'Human Rights Activist Assassinated in Colombia'

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