Colombia: another indigenous leader slain in Cauca

An indigenous leader who 11 years ago escaped kidnappers from the FARC rebel group, was gunned down in the southwestern Colombian department of Cauca Jan. 12, according to the regional indigenous alliance ACIN. Milciades Trochez Conda was shot 10 times by two assailants on a motorcycle who intercepted him on a road near the hamlet of Caloto, ACIN said, citing witness accounts. A member of the indigenous council at the village of Jambaló, Trochez Conda, 39, was a father of seven and a leader in efforts to secure the autonomy of the region’s resguardos (indigenous reserves) against armed groups. He was killed on his way to Santander de Quilichao, the nearest market town.

Trochez had received numerous threats over the years, from both the FARC guerillas and right-wing paramilitary groups. The Jambaló Indigenous Guard succeeded in winning his freedom by approaching his captors en masse to demand his release after he was abducted by the FARC in 2001. The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) said in a December report that 117 indigenous people were slain in the Andean nation during 2011. (EFE, ACIN, Jan. 13)

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