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News > Colombia

Colombia: 3 Indigenous Social Leaders Murdered

  • Three members of Colombia's Awa community was found dead in last week.

    Three members of Colombia's Awa community was found dead in last week. | Photo: Facebook / Unidad Indígena Del Pueblo Awá Unipa

Published 10 June 2019

Three social leaders from Colombia's Indigenous Awa community were found dead over last week. 

Three Indigenous leaders from Colombia’s Awa community were killed in different sectors of the municipalities of Barbacoas and Tumaco over the past week.


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The leaders were receiving threats via WhatsApp while commemorating the 29th anniversary of the creation of the Indigenous Unity of the Awa People (Unipa). During the celebration, a general assembly was held on June 4 and 5.

A spokesperson of the Awa people said one of the counselors got a text message from a criminal group known as Oliver Sinisterra threatening the life of the social leaders.

An 18-year-old student of the Awa Bilingual Agro-Environmental Technical Education Institution, Leidy Jacqueline Burgos Pai was disappeared after June 5. The young woman was part of the Indigenous guard and belonged to Resguardo Honda Rio Guiza in the jurisdiction of the municipality of Barbacoas. She was found dead later in a rural area between the municipalities of Ricaurte and Tumaco.

Rocio Garcia Pai, a member of the Awa shelter Hojal la Turbia de Tumaco was found dead as well. She had been missing since last Tuesday. Her lifeless body, marred with signs of violence was found three days later at the banks of Nulpe River.

Robert Dionisio Garcia Bisbicus, 21, was shot in front of his house Friday morning by unknown people on a motorcycle. He died at the spot. He belonged to the Awa Indigenous reservation of Gran Rosario located in the municipality of Tumaco.

"We feel that we are attacked by all the actors in conflict and that our rights are being violated," said one of the leaders.

A statement from the Indigenous Unity of the Awa People (Unipa) announced that pamphlets from multiple armed actors had appeared since the previous month, threatening Awa social leaders directly.

"Already there are more than 73 leaders who have been threatened to present an extreme risk to their lives, adding to the 29 murders between August 2016 to date, demonstrating the extermination we have been subjected to," the statement said.

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