Colombia: Embera indigenous leaders assassinated

Rights groups warn that Embera Chamí indigenous leader Flaminio Onogama Gutiérrez is at risk following the killing of his two nephews in southwestern Colombia. On Jan. 1, Berlain Saigama Gutiérrez and Jhon Braulio Saigama, themselves leaders at the Embera Chamí community of La Esperanza, El Dovio municipality, Valle del Cauca, were found stabbed to death. The bodies were discovered with multiple wounds and signs of torture in different places from where they had been abducted on Dec. 30 and 31. The presumed paramilitary gunmen who seized them first demanded to know the whereabouts of Onogama Gutiérrez. (Amnesty International, Jan. 17) A sample letter to send to Colombian authorities demanding action in the case is online at I Save Lives.

On Dec. 27, Lizarde Morales Domicó, a botánico (traditional healer) of the Embera Eyábida people, was killed near his home at Arenera Dokera community, Turbo municipality, in Colombia's northern region of Urabá. On Jan. 15, the Indigenous Organization of Antioquia issued a statement protesting that requests for urgent observation and "accompaniment" at Arenera Dokera have met no response from authorities. Both municipal authorities and Colombia's rights ombudsman, the Defensoría del Pueblo, have been petitioned to act in the case. The statement added that 13 adults and 22 children at the community are at imminent risk. (CRIC, Jan. 15)