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News > Latin America

Bullet Casings Indicate Security Forces Killed Rafael Nahuel

  • According to the first results of the autopsy, the activist was crouched when he was shot.

    According to the first results of the autopsy, the activist was crouched when he was shot. | Photo: Reuters

Published 9 December 2017

Officials are conducting a thorough investigation in the Mapuche owned lands to determine which weapons were fired during the encounter between police and activists.

The federal judge of Neuquén, Gustavo Villanueva, who is overseeing the case involving the murder of Rafael Nahuel, a 22-year-old man, personally launched an investigation in the Nahuel Huapi National Park. The land is occupied by the Lof Lafken Winkul Mapul.

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The judge sought to investigate the confrontation between the Mapuche Ancestral Resistance (RAM) and Argentine security forces that left Nahuel dead. The preliminary results from this investigation contradict the official position of the government, but the Ministry of Security remains skeptical.

Two others were also injured during the attack by police.

Accompanied by investigators from the Federal Police (PFA), legal representatives of the security forces, and representatives of the young man’s family, the judge spent nine hours in Villa Mascardi.

PFA experts, who are specially trained in ballistics and forensics, came across bullet casings around 20 nine millimeter bullet casings in the area surrounding the site of Nahuel’s death.

The results, which were confirmed through a forensics lab, undermine the theory put forth by the Argentine government that the Mapuche initially confronted the police as nine millimeter bullets are standard issue for police forces.

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Nahuel was shot in the back, as was confirmed by the investigation. The nine millimeter bullet found to have killed the young man entered through the left buttock and went up through his chest. “We must determine if that bullet was fired by an officer’s weapon,” a source told TN.com.

Investigators also found six rubber bullet pods and two paint bullets, which are identical to those used by police.

Nahuel had traveled to the area of Villa Mascardi to show solidarity with the Mapuche cause on Nov. 23 before security forces disrupted the area on Nov. 25. He had also gone along with his aunt, María Nahuel, and his cousin, Micaela Johana Colhuan.

In the next few days, the judge will announce the results of another forensics analysis that will determine whether Rafael Nahuel had gunpowder residue on his hands or not when he was shot and killed.


Rafael Nahuel
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