Colombia: indigenous communities condemn FARC attacks in Cauca

In the early hours of July 9, FARC guerillas attacked the central plaza of the indigenous Nasa village Toribio in Colombia’s Cauca department, leaving two civilian residents dead and 73 injured. The attack, with improvised explosives, came at the start of a market day in the village. One National Police officer was also killed, and three injured. Damage was caused to several homes, small businesses and public buildings in 400 square-meter area. The injured were evacuated from the village for medical treatment. In a statement, the region’s traditional indigenous authorities said the attack “demonstrates the deterioration of the guerillas and the total disrespect of all the armed actors for life and human dignity.”

Simultaneous with the Toribio assault, the FARC carried out similar attacks in the indigenous communities if Jámbalo, Corinto, Caldono, Mondomo and Siberia, “which demonstrates that, tragically, the strategy of the FARC is concentrated in the indigenous territories.” The joint statement from the Indigenous Regional Council of Cauca (CRIC), the Association of Indigenous Cabildos of North Cauca (ACIN) and Association of Indigenous Cabildos of Caldono-Nasa (CXHAB) said the attacks threaten “our autonomy, our peaceful inhabitation of the land, and our existence as peoples.”

The statement concluded: “We demand that all parties to the conflict respect International Humanitarian Law… In view of the fact that neither the insurgency nor the Colombian government are interested in a political exit to the armed conflict, the indigenous movement calls on the Colombian people and the international community to work for a solution built by civil society in a participatory manner to oblige an end to the war. There will be no peace for Colombians if there is no peace for the indigenous people, and there will be no peace for the indigenous people if there is not peace for Colombia.” (ACIN, July 9)

See our last post on Colombia and the FARC.

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