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Home >> World
UPDATED: 14:15, August 10, 2006
UNHCR condemns massacre of indigens in Colombia
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The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Wednesday condemned the massacre of five people from the Awa, a Colombian indigenous group, on the International Day of Indigenous People.

Roberto Meier, Colombia's representative of the UNHCR, described the killing as "brutal murder."

Five members of the indigenous Colombian community, the Awa, were killed by paramilitaries in the rural Colombian area of Barbacoas early Wednesday after nine heavily armed men burst into a house in the village of Altaquer in the southwestern department of Narino, which borders with Ecuador.

One of the victims was Jesus Moran, the traditional Awa leader at Chaguichimbuza.

Fabio Trujillo, interior minister for Narino, told media that the Awas appeared to have been killed on suspicion of aiding the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

FARC guerillas and paramilitaries have been clashing repeatedly in Awa areas in recent weeks.

Meier described the massacre as a case that the international community should know about so that Colombia does not continue experiencing the types of human rights violations.

Doris Puchana, who took over the leadership of the Awa from Moran, also condemned the killings, saying "my soul aches because these are my people, in my care."

Luis Evelis Andrade, president of the National Indigenous Colombians Association, called for an investigation into the massacre to figure out how such events could occur in a heavily militarized area.

The massacre took place only a day after the authorities of the northwest department of Antioquia reported the massacre of six rural workers in Zaragoza. Paramilitaries were blamed for the alleged murder.

Source: Xinhua

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