The assassination was conducted as an act of “vengeance” against someone who has “led the defense of communal lands” from the interests of illegal miners.
Environmental defender Wildelber Vegas Torres, notorious for his opposition to illegal mining, was shot and killed Saturday in the Suyo district of Peru.
Vegas was shot ten times by hit-men while traveling by motorcycle.
According to residents from the area, the assassination was conducted as an act of “vengeance” against someone who has “led the defense of communal lands” from the interests of illegal miners that reign in the farming community of Santa Rosa de Suyo, reported Servindi.
In the days prior to his assassination, Vegas had reportedly denounced threats against his life to the police but received no answer, according to El Comercio.
This is not the first time in recent years that farmers and social leaders have been targeted by people involved in natural resource exploitation in Peru.
In 2017, six farmers were killed by men connected to the palm oil business in order to gain control of their lands.
Prior to that, in 2014, indigenous leaders Edwin Chota, Jorge Rios, Leonicio Quinticima, and Francisco Pineo were murdered after opposing illegal logging in their lands. The leaders had previously denounced threats against their life but these had been archived by law enforcement which failed to protect them, according to Inforegion.