Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
WARNING: DISTRESSING CONTENT
This footage shows an indigenous leader tied to a wooden post with barbed wire that can be seen digging into his skin as he winces in pain after both the Sinaloa cartel and the FARC threatened local leaders.
Local media report Jose Albeiro Camayo was found tied to a wooden pole stick after being tortured in an area known as Alto la Chapa in the municipality of Santander de Quilichao in the Cauca department in southwestern Colombia.
The Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) said that Camayo, who is the Coordinator of the Indigenous Guard in the municipality of Buenos Aires, also in the Cauca department, was captured by an armed man who took him to a forest area where four more armed men were waiting.
According to CRIC, the leader of the gang tied Camayo to the pole and quizzed him “about a kidnapping which possibly happened in the area” and reportedly threatened to kill the indigenous leader if the alleged victim was not released within the next 48 hours.
Local media report Camayo was tortured by the gang but it is unclear what form of torture he underwent.
In the video, Camayo can be seen being released from the pole, with barbed wire being taken from around him as he winces in pain.
Another indigenous leader in Cauca, Dario Tote, told local reporters: “The General Attorney’s office knows about this. They intend to intimidate us with murders, torture, disappearances and accusations.”
Tote also said that Camayo had been tortured by the gang when he was tied up.
CRIC condemned “the violation of human rights and the systematic murder carried out by armed groups” against the indigenous leaders of Cauca.
According to local media, more than ten indigenous people have bee murdered in the Cauca department in the last 30 days.
Aldeman Bolanos, another indigenous leader in Cauca told Noticias Caracol: “The situation is very complex in the north of the Cauca department and in the deep forest area due to several factors. Unfortunately, people of our guard and from different indigenous groups are falling as victims.”
Also, CRIC reported threats to several indigenous leaders last July in the Cauca department coming from The Sinaloa Carte which is associated with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and with the National Liberation Army of Colombia (ELN)
A meeting will be held soon to discuss the violence against the indigenous groups, according to CRIC. The organisation claims they will continue defending their autonomy and control over their lands.
“We are not going to bend or surrender, and we won’t be scared” Dario Tote commented to local reporters.
Local media also reported Camayo had previously been the victim of a terrorist attack on the road that links the towns of Toribio and Caloto.
No arrests have been reported and it is unclear if local authorities have launched an investigation. It is unclear which indigenous community, the victim is the leader of.
Since the signing of the peace agreement with the former FARC guerrillas, in November 2016, numerous social leaders have been killed in the country, a figure is currently between 500 and 700 people, according to local media.
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