Indigenous father and son murdered in southern Colombia

Two indigenous Awa men – a father and son – were murdered on Saturday 1 December, in an attack that left four other community members injured in Ricaurte, department of Nariño. Unidentified men entered the Palmar Medio Imbi community at around 12.30am and opened fire, killing Héctor Ramiro García and his son Arturo García. The attack occurred as residents left a local electoral assembly.

Héctor Ramiro García was the founder of the CAMAWARI indigenous council, of which Arturo had just been elected as governor.

The injured men were named as Miguel García, a community coordinator, Gilberto Nastacuas and Gerardo Nastacuas, who were both members of the indigenous guard, and Juvenal Torres.

According to the National Indigenous Organisation of Colombia (ONIC), twelve people have been murdered in Ricaurte in the last three months, with the authorities failing to respond to the security crisis. ‘These last events are of great concern for the Camawari organisation because there are twelve victims, including those of today, which have been registered in the municipality of Ricaurte, [and] what is really worrying is that they are crimes committed systematically and sequentially’, said the ONIC.

‘We demand that the national government and its authorities provide the necessary conditions and guarantees of protection of human rights for the Awá population, so that reprehensible acts such as those mentioned above do not happen again in our ancestral territory’, the ONIC added.

The attack occurred just one day after indigenous leader Aldemar Tróchez was murdered in Cauca. More than 400 social leaders and human rights defenders have been killed in Colombia since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016.