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  • There has been a series of murders targeting community leaders in Guatemala, the teacher of Indigenous languages is one of the latest victims.

    There has been a series of murders targeting community leaders in Guatemala, the teacher of Indigenous languages is one of the latest victims. | Photo: Prensa Libre

Published 16 February 2019

"He always fought so that the community leaders of the region will not let die this valuable ancestral resource that identifies us.” said a professor at the academy. 

The director of the regional headquarters of the Academy of Mayan Languages of Guatemala, was shot dead in the street in Jocotan, Chiquimula, Wednesday night, authorities were informed.

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Witnesses said that individuals on a motorcycle drove up to 45-year-old Saturnino Ramirez Interiano and shot him in the face without a word. Interiano died immediately, Prensa Libre reported.

An investigation is ongoing to find those responsible. Four 9-millimeter calipers were located at the site of the attack, which will be compared with other evidence at the crime scene in order to verify whether the weapon used had been fired in other recorded incidents.

Researchers of the National Civil Police have ruled out that it was not a robbery since the victim still carried all his belongings, including his cell phone, identification documents and money.

Relatives implored authorities and investigators to find those responsible for the crime, and said they did not know the reason for the crime as Interiano had never mentioned any death threats.

"He was a great community leader in Pelillo Negro, well respected and loved in the municipality, as well as being a great professor at the academy,” said Elioneth Ramírez, a family member of Prof Satur, as he was known by his students.

“They have taken away from us a great father, brother and son. He was always very dedicated to family, community and his work. We do not know the reason for his death."

Ramírez Interiano worked for over a decade at the Academy of Mayan Languages of Guatemala, as the director. According to Prensa Libre, he often visited schools in the Chortí region to offer classes on the native language and social studies of the area, intending to prevent the knowledge from disappearing among the indigenous population.

"For a long time we have worked together, committed to the rescue of the Chorti language and culture, he always fought so that the community leaders of the region will not let die this valuable ancestral resource that identifies us.” said Petronilo Pérez Lopez, a professor at the academy. “We were great companions and it hurts the way they took his life. The Chorti region is in mourning."

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