Indigenous leaders in Colombia’s south-western Valle del Cauca department allege that demobilized paramilitary group the AUC sent them threatening leaflets, declaring them to be “enemies” and military targets, reports to El Espectador.
Thirty-six leaders of the Misak people claimed to have received the leaflets from the supposedly demobilized paramilitary organization the AUC.
“If the paramilitaries demobilized then why are they making their presence and their criminal actions in the Cauca department public?” asked one indigenous spokesperson.
According to the leaflet, its purpose of the leaflet is to “warn indigenous leaders to end the archaic discourse which favors indigenous rights and ideology by undermining the good and noble intentions of a government in favor of peace.”
The leaflet warns that if Indigenous leaders do not heed this advice “we will go beyond threats and commence action against the Guambiano people [alternative name for the Misak] without piety or fear.”
Indigenous organizations expressed concern, arguing that it is an attempt to silence their thought, culture and ancestral roots. They called upon the relevant government agencies for protection.
The AUC was an illegal conglomerate of paramilitary groups that officially demobilized between 2003 and 2006. Two of its former leaders recently alleged that the demobilization process failed.
Colombia has around 102 ethnic groups made up of more than one million people, of which 64 are in danger of disappearing. The Misak population is estimated at around 25,000.