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COLOMBIA
Indigenous (again) caught in crossfire
1/27/2011
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Deadly clashes force indigenous groups to flee their homes.

Clashes between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and the Colombian military, forced hundreds of indigenous citizens to flee their homes in early January, in the latest example of how this already marginalized group is under threat from the country’s internal conflict.

According to the North Cauca Association of Indigenous Councils, 200 indigenous Colombians, left their homes amid the fighting. The displaced, members of the Paez indigenous group were living on a football field in a neighboring village.

Two indigenous community members died in the clashes, including an elderly woman, who died of a heart attack during the fighting, according to the organization. A 31-year-old man, Alderson Dagua Yunda, a 31-year-old community leader, was found dead in fatigues over his clothes in a suspicious manner, local press reported.

The case sparked fears that it was a “false positive” killing, indiscriminate killing that the military possibly tried to cover up by dressing his corpse in FARC fatigues.

National Ombudsman Volmar Pérez asked the attorney general to investigate the killing.

“The Attorney General’s Office must investigate the circumstances of fashion, time and place that led to the death of villager Alderson Dagua Yunda, 31, victim of various impacts with a firearm, who additionally, was found dressed in camaflouge over his jeans and mud boots.”

In a statement, he also denounced the forced displacement of 500 campesino residents in the area, amid the fighting.

According to the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, 122 indigenous Colombians were killed last year. In a report, the organization said that the majority of the violence suffered by Colombia’s indigenous population is at the hands of state security forces.
—Latinamerica Press.


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