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News > Latin America

Zapatista-backed Community Denounce Paramilitary Attack

  • The Ikoots community declares in maximum alert fearing more paramilitary attacks.

    The Ikoots community declares in maximum alert fearing more paramilitary attacks. | Photo: Twitter @CNI_Mexico

Published 2 April 2018

Five members of the Ikojts indigenous assembly in San Dionisio del Mar were attacked by armed people linked to the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party in Mexico.

Members of the Ikojts (also known as Huave) Indigenous community in San Dionisio del Mar, southern Mexico, were attacked by a government-linked paramilitary group during the Easter celebrations, injuring five.


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According to a series of press releases signed by the San Dionisio del Mar traditional indigenous assembly, members of the assembly were taking part in the community's “Jew procession” religious celebration on Holy Thursday when attacked by armed people, which they claim are loyal to the local mayor, 27-year-old Teresita de Jesus Luis Ojeada.

Witnesses identified Cesareo Castellanos Vazquez, Romulo Ramos Gallegos, Crisoforo Torres Castellanos and Pedro Castellanos Noriega as the people that shot at least 12 times against the local population, using shotguns and a pistol.

They reportedly launched the attack from the house of Sandra Isabel Castellanos Diaz, the local General-Secretary of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Teresita de Jesus backing party, located is one of the community's main streets.

The injured are Luis Daniel A. M. (16 years old), Jose de Jesus G. R. (18), Ovaldo T. E. (19), Daniel R. M. (38) and Teodosio G. G. (45). They were taken to a nearby hospital in Juchitan, one of the devastated towns by the September earthquakes, where one of them had to undergo surgery and is currently hospitalized.

“We demand an immediate, lawful and clear investigation on the attack in which five members of the San Dionisio del Mar's General People's Assembly were injured, as well as medical attention for each of them, since bullets weren't extracted from three out of five of them.

The press releases also denounce that police never arrived at the crime scene.

The traditional assembly and local sympathizers engaged in a legal battle against the Mareña Renovales renewable energy company -now called Eolica del Sur-, which pretended to build a wind farm in the area, ultimately kicking it out in 2012.

San Dionisio del Mar is located in the Tehuantepec Isthmus region in the southern state of Oaxaca, an area in which the government is promoting several wind farms despite opposition from the local population, which claim that the wind turbines installation and operation damage the environment.


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Now, members of the assembly are facing repression from paramilitary groups and an official political leadership linked to the national ruling force, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

Different human rights and social organizations condemned the attack and asked sympathizers to remain alert in case new aggressions take place.

The Gobixha Human Rights' Comprehensive Defense Committee expressed its concerns on the attack and made the municipal authorities, headed by Teresita de Jesus, responsible for the aggression.

The Istmo Indigenous Peoples Assembly in Defense of Land and Territory also joined the declarations and reaffirmed their commitment to the environmental struggle.

“We declare that, as indigenous Ikoots and Binniza peoples and communities of the Tehuantepec Isthmus, we won't allow the establishment of any more extractivist project in our territory, and we continue in maximum alert towards the criminalization and harassment activities that the different government levels and enterprises pretend to impose on our people.”

The mentioned communities and assemblies are part of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), a nation-wide indigenous network backed by the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), which published the different press releases on its website.

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