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News > Colombia

Indigenous Community Frees Colombian Soldier From Armed Groups

  • The Indigenous people in Colombia is

    The Indigenous people in Colombia is "in search of a true peace that can happen." | Photo: teleSUR

Published 23 March 2019

The Indigenous Guard patrol their territories to protect the rights and lives of Colombia's Indigenous communities.

An Indigenous community in the Valle del Cauca department in Colombia rescued a professional soldier, Alirio Montenegro, from an irregular armed group.

Colombia Gov't, Indigenous Groups Begin Dialogue After Weeks of Protests

The Indigenous Guard of Granates in the municipality of Florida rescued Montenegro who was reportedly kidnapped on March 20 by an armed group, the community confirmed during a joint press conference with a delegation from the Ombudsman Office, known as the Defensoria del Pueblo.

The Indigenous Guard, who patrol their territories to protect the rights and lives of Colombia's Indigenous communities, discovered Montenegro and brought him to the Ombudsman representatives. According to the Defensoria del Pueblo's official Twitter account, Montenegro "had been abducted by an illegal armed group."

According to a spokesperson from the community, the Indigenous Guard "persecutes armed groups in indigenous territories," although, they added, "(The Indigenous Guard) does not want to clash with them; we seek peace." The Colombian  Ancestral people are "in search of a true peace that can happen."

The Indigenous Communities of Valle del Cauca have given their support to the National Social "Minga" (community service and work) for the Defense of Peace, Life, Territory, Democracy and Justice. In a message to the organization, the Indigenous Guard showed solidarity with the movement, writing, "We only demand our rights. We will continue in resistance!"

Soldier Montenegro thanked the community and he also thanked the local patrol unit. "They treated me very well, they helped me a lot. Everything went very well, I am very grateful," he said during the press conference.

The Ondbusman office of Valle del Cauca stated that the Indigenous communities have confidence in the work they do. "As a Defensoria del Pueblo, we undertook the humanitarian issue in coordination with the Indigenous guard."

The Indigenous peoples, led by the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC), have been demanding the Ivan Duque administration implements in full the Havanna Peace Agreement, more security protections for social leaders and a debate on the National Development Plan- a request which could "pushesthe state to recognize their ancestral territories," the CRIC said.

The community concluded the press conference by urging "all the Colombian people" to "continue to maintain the theme of peace."

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