Indigenous communities mobilise over violence in Antioquia

Indigenous communities in the Murindó zone of Antioquia have launched mobilisations to protest the presence of armed groups in their territories and the state’s failure to ensure security and adequate services.

The Embera communities of Río Murindó and Río Chageradó will stage a ‘Minga’ indigenous mobilisation over 11-16 February to call for dialogue with regional authorities over the increasingly weak security in the region. Since the start of February, an intensification in fighting between armed groups has forcibly confined and displaced indigenous, rural and African-Colombian communities. Armed groups have also laid landmines in the area.

‘We will mobilise peacefully and purposefully, open to dialogue, seeking the restoration of our rights as peoples in danger of physical and cultural extermination,’ said the Indigenous Organisation of Antioquia (OIA). There have been reports of paramilitaries operating with the backing of the army.

On 4 February, 40 families – totalling around 180 people – were displaced from the Bachibudi reservation and another 15 from the Guagua reservation. On 8 February, 104 people from the Chimiadó community sought refuge from fighting in a nearby school.

Social organisations are calling for the government to urgently address the crisis in Murindó, as well as long-standing issues over poor conditions.