BOGOTA – The Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) on Tuesday denounced the murder of at least two leaders of the Tacueyo community in an armed attack suspected to have been carried out by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissidents, who also wounded four others.
According to the CRIC, the attack occurred in Tacueyo Reserve in the southwest Cauca department, where governor Cristina Bautista and indigenous guard Jose Gerardo Soto were killed, while another four members of the community –Matias Montaño Noscue, Jose Norman Montaño Noscue, Crescencio Peteche Mensa and Dora Rut Mesa Peteche – were injured.
The CRIC reported that the individuals were ambushed in La Luz village, allegedly by members of FARC splinter group Dagoberto Ramos, who were firing at the civilian population in the area.
Luis Acosta, the national coordinator of the indigenous guard, which is responsible for security in native territory across Colombia, said the attack had resulted in a “grave emergency” but that the indigenous authorities would not be weakened by the incident.
“We’re not going to be scared... we continue to resist at this time, with much grief over the deaths of our colleagues, but we are not going to bend,” Acosta said in a message distributed to members of the community.
Senator and Nasa Indian, Feliciano Valencia, “urgently” requested the ombudsman, Carlos Alfonso Negret, to “immediately address this humanitarian crisis” affecting the indigenous people of Cauca.
Cauca is one of the most troubled departments due to the presence of several illegal armed groups vying for control of the territory for drug-trafficking activities.
Lawmaker Roy Barreras of the Social Party of National Unity said on Twitter that shooting was continuing in Tacueyo and urged the government to address the situation.
“Air support from the Defense Ministry and Military Forces is indispensable. Indigenous guard members may die,” added Barreras, who called on the country’s authorities to “prevent those deaths now.”