The bodies of an indigenous leader and his two sons were excavated from a communal grave, approximately one year after their disappearance following a major drug cartel’s incursion into northern Colombia, reported Radio Caracol.
Drug trafficking organization “The Rastrojos” reportedly entered a region known as Bajo Cauca, just outside of the municipality of Zaragosa in Antioquia, between June 24 and June 26 2011. On June 25 the governor of the Zenu indigenous community, Jorge Mejia Estrada, and his two sons went missing.
Officials fear that they will discover the bodies of others who disappeared during the attack.
The Zenu, whose origins can be traced back to 200 B.C., were decimated following the Spanish conquest, yet pockets of the indigenous tribe remain in the country, some in government-sponsored areas located in Bajo Cauca.
Indigenous tribes have suffered a disproportionately high amount from the Colombian conflict, often as a result of weak or unheeded claims to land, higher poverty levels and weaker connections to the state, resulting in a lack of any permanent government system of protection or justice. The Zenu were particularly affected by the armed conflict in 2011, with paramilitary attacks killing 13 members of the tribe following the Rastrojo presence in June.
According to a report from the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, between January and May of 2012 24 indigenous community members were killed.