Ethnic cleansing in Ecuador

From EFE, April 29 via ServIndi (our translation):

QUITO – The government will investigate an alleged massacre of indigenous people in the Amazon, at the hands of presumed armed madereros [pirate loggers], in a dispute over a forest zone, the local press reported today.

A television report affirmed that the ministers of Defense, Osvaldo Jarrín, and of Environment, Ana Albán, are journeying today to the locality of Tigüino, in the Amazonian province of Orellana, where the indigenous leader Iki Ima Omene announced that 40 aboriginals had been killed.

Omene, while claiming madereros were responsabile for the massacre, admitted he had only found the cadavers of two women of the Taomenane group, part of the Huaroni ethnicity, near the locality of Tigüino. But he emphasized that the dead total some 40.

In a radio declaration, the missionary Roque Grandes, of the Vicariato Apostólico in Tigüino, confirmed the death of at least two young indigenous women, and also said that there had been more victims.

According to Sonorama, the oil company Petrobell, which has its center of operations in the region, has closed all means of access pending the arrival of the authorities.

Indigenous communities of various ethnicities that inhabit the Amazon region, who oppose the encroachment of logging and oil companies in their territories, have frequently reported confrontations with armed men.

On April 15, two men felling trees in the region of Cononaco, also in Orellana province, were attacked and wounded, supposedly by Huaorani indigenous people.

The wounded men reported that the indigenous had attacked from behind with spears and that they escapaed with their lives only because fellow workers noticed the attack.

Nonetheless, troops from the Jungle Brigade “Napo” and personnel from Yasuní National Park said that the attack could be “a consequence” of illegal exploitation of the forest in this region protected by the State.

Violence growing in Yasuní

To the south of Yasuní National Park, an asymmetrical war is unfolding, with spears against rifles. The madereros, who fell trees illegally in the protected area, and their Waorani partners, are confronted by “uncontacted peoples” and peoples in “voluntary isolation.”


Yesterday, another battle was reproted, with a balance still uncertain. The battle occured Thursday April 27, in the Cononaco Chico (río Chiripuno) sector, some 92 kilmeters south of Francisco de Orellana.

It is only clear that there were deaths on both sides, but the number has not been confirmed. Unofficially, it is known that six persons were killed and a Wuaorani was wounded by spears.

According to Vicente Enomenga, president of the Organization of Wuaorani Nationalities of Ecuador (Onwae), a few kilometers from where the spear attack on madereros Gilder Moreira y Willian Angulo (dead) ocurred on April 12, a new defense of Tagaeris-Taromenane territory is underway.

This time, three madereros were speared to death and an equal number of indigenous were killed by bullets, including two women. However, other reports indicate that the dead are more than 30. According to Enomenga, the Taromenane were shot by the madereros. One Waorani was also wounded in the confrontation that ocurred a few kilometers from the Waorani community of Noneno.

For Enomenga, the problem could be that the protected zone is not delimited. “The madereros are trespassing on lands inhabited by the Tagaeri-Taromenane. The Onwae make efforts to prevent the madereros from carrying out the illegal felling of timber.”