Ecuador: deadly clash in anti-mining operation

The Shuar Association of Bomboiza, in Ecuador's eastern rainforest province of Morona Santiago, is demanding answers from the government over a Nov. 7 incident in which a member of the Shuar indigenous people was killed in an army operation against illegal gold-miners in the region. The confrontation, at Kukus community on the banks of the Río Zamora, Bomboiza parish, Gualaquiza canton, also left nine army troops wounded. The army maintains that a patrol boat came under fire from presumed outlaw miners, and the Shuar man, Freddy Taish, was among the attackers. But Shuar leaders are demanding that the government reveal what kind of bullet killed Taish, saying that the official version of events contains "contradictions," and accuse the army of tampering with forensic evidence.

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and autonomous Government of Original Nations of Ecuadoran Amazonia (GONOAE) are backing the Shuar's demand for release of the ballistics evidence, and indemnification for Taish's family. The Fiscalía, or government prosecutor's office, says the case is still under "preliminary investigation," while the independent Regional Foundation of Human Rights Assessment (INREDH) has sent its own team to the area to interview Shuar community leaders and independent miners. (Ecuavisa, Nov. 26; INREDH, Nov. 25; El Universo, Guayaquil, Nov. 20; El Universo, Nov. 15; Hoy, Quito, Nov. 11; Ecuavisa, Nov. 8)

Please support our fund drive.