Indigenous activists wounded at Minga and National Strike mobilization in Cali, Colombia

Published by Brent Patterson on

Daniela Soto was wounded in yesterday’s attack. Photo by Erika Prieto.

There are media reports of an armed attack against Indigenous peoples who have mobilized in the city of Cali in the context of the ongoing national strike in Colombia:

El Pais reports: “Groups of armed civilians fired this Sunday [May 9] at protesters taking part in the indigenous minga— a word synonymous with resistance or mobilization — that has gathered in the city of Cali.”

Bloomberg reports: “Indigenous leaders said unidentified shooters in civilian clothes opened fire on buses on which they were traveling on a highway south of the city.”

France 24 reports: “Several civilians, most dressed in white and traveling in high-end vans, fired at the minga vehicles on Sunday afternoon, in an incident that left 12 wounded, four of them seriously according to indigenous authorities. Videos of the attack, recorded by journalists, witnesses and both indigenous groups and attackers, quickly went viral on Colombian networks and shocked the country.”

Infobae reports: “This May 9, the Indigenous Guard in Cali and other Cauca Valley Territories supporting and caring for the peaceful demonstration was the target of a gunshot attack. …In the video [embedded in the article] you can hear the shots fired at the Indigenous people, who run after those who make the shots.”

And The Guardian reports: “On Sunday, a blockade set up by indigenous protesters outside the wealthy Ciudad Jardín neighbourhood was attacked by men in civilian clothes. Disturbing videos appear to show members of the police allowing the gunmen through. Other clips show vigilantes wielding handguns and assault rifles in broad daylight.”

That article adds: “On Sunday night, Colombia’s president, Iván Duque, announced that more soldiers and police officers would be dispatched to the city to lift blockades. Chillingly, he also instructed indigenous protesters to ‘return to their reservations’ in order to ‘avoid violent confrontations with citizens’.”

Statements from ONIC, ACIN and CRIC

Following this armed attack, the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) tweeted: “WE DEMAND RESPECT FOR LIFE for those who mobilize in Minga in the national strike: Peasants, Afro, indigenous people, students, teachers and popular sectors continue to fight for life and peace.”

The Indigenous organization ACIN has also tweeted: “We denounce the complicity of members of the public force [policy and military], with armed civilians who shot against the Indigenous community in via Cali – Jamundi.”

And the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) issued this statement to the international community that highlights: “The government’s response to social protest has been military treatment, through war it aims to resolve social conflicts, this strategy leaves today more than 30 people killed, others missing, judicialized, people with eye injuries, acts of sexual violence towards women; in addition to militarization of the territories and a dirty war developed by paramilitary and state groups.”

Daniela Soto

Colombian artist Lido Pimienta has tweeted: “Daniela was gathering with a group of indigenous people who were in ceremony, she was deliberately shot and is now fighting for her life at hospital. The shooter was a civilian-backed up by police.”

France 24 also reports: “UN Women joined in the complaints [against the attack] especially because one of the serious injuries to the indigenous minga, the young Daniela Soto, was part of the Prodefensoras program, an initiative focused on protecting the lives of women human rights defenders.”

This tweet says: “She was shot twice in the abdomen, she is in critical condition at the Valle del Lili clinic. Daniela, is from Cauca, belongs to CRIC.”

PBI-Colombia continues to accompany human rights groups during the national strike. For more on that, please see Photo journal: PBI-Colombia accompanies human rights defenders during the #ParoNacional national strike.

Categories: News Updates

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