Colombian Indigenous Leader Assassinated
News from Colombia |
on: Friday, 15 October 2010
The General Secretary of the ‘Lopez Adentro’ indigenous council, which governs the reserve of the same name, was yesterday gunned down by two unidentified assassins as he stood outside of his home with his wife and seven-year-old daughter. Rodolfo Maya Aricape, a well known indigenous leader in the region, died at 4.30 in the afternoon immediately after being shot repeatedly by the two men who escaped by motorcycle. He had received several death threats during recent months including slogans threatening to kill him being painted on buildings near his home in the reserve which is located in the Caloto region of the Colombian province of Cauca.
Mr Maya Aricape, a member of the Nasa indigenous group, was close to completing a communications course in the local indigenous training centre that would have allowed him to better highlight the regular human rights abuses perpetrated against indigenous people in the area. “This is not an isolated incident,” said a statement issued following his murder by the ‘Lopez Adentro’ indigenous council, “It is part of a strategy of intimidation that is increasing in our territories.”
In a report last week the National Indigenous Organisation of Colombia (ONIC) announced that already this year there have been more than 100 assassinations of indigenous people and highlighted the particular difficulties in Cauca province, where the latest killing took place. Last month the ONIC and the Colombian Commission of Jurists accused the Colombian regime of trying to play down the problem of violence against indigenous people after Government sources apparently tried to mislead the United Nations as to the levels of violence.