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News > Chile

Chilean Police Arrest Mapuche Leader Accused of Arson

  • Hector Llaitul, leader of the Mapuche organization Coordinadora Arauco Malleco

    Hector Llaitul, leader of the Mapuche organization Coordinadora Arauco Malleco

Published 24 August 2022

On Wednesday, Chilean police arrested Hector Llaitul, leader of the Mapuche organization Coordinadora Arauco Malleco, for his alleged involvement in a series of arson attacks in the country's south.

"The police arrested the leader of the Arauco Malleco Coordination, which comes after the Temuco Guarantee Court released an arrest warrant against him, which arose at the request of the Prosecutor's Office," the regional prosecutor of La Araucanía (south), Roberto Garrido, informed in a press conference.

 Chile: Lower House Declares Mapuche Organizations as Terrorists

Llaitul was apprehended by the Investigative Police (civil police) while he was having lunch in a restaurant in the city of Cañete (south) and was transferred to Temuco (south) to be placed at the disposal of the Judiciary.

The prosecutor explained that Llaitul would be investigated for his alleged participation in common crimes and some crimes punishable under the State Security Law.

The Coordinadora Arauco Malleco is an organization whose objective is to achieve more autonomy for the Mapuche people and the restitution of their ancestral lands in the south of Chile. For this, it claims the armed struggle and arson attacks on forestry companies, aggregate companies, churches and other targets.

The government of President Gabriel Boric instructed to apply a constitutional state of emergency in the regions of Biobío (south) and La Araucanía to militarize the area to control the arson attacks registered for decades in those places.

The Arauco Malleco Coordinator, in a public communiqué, clarified that the extraction of timber from the forestry companies could not be conceived as theft since it is the recovery and reappropriation of resources in their ancestral territory.

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