Indigenous protesters taking part in a national strike have captured seven members of Colombia’s security forces, who are being held in two separate locations in Colombia, according to a statement by local authorities on Friday.
The government Ombudsman in the western state of Risaralda, Freddy Plaza, says that six of those taken by the indigenous protestors – five uniformed police officers and a reserve soldier – were being held in the municipality of Belen de Umbria.
In addition to calling for the release of the captured government officials in a public address, Plaza pressed protesters to lift roadblocks causing backed-up traffic on highways in the state.
Roadblocks also continued on the Pan-American highway in the southwestern state of Cauca, where protesters were holding a member of the riot police captive. Protesters were also blocking roads in the northern state of Sucre.
The reports of captured government officials comes after Colombian indigenous rights group ONIC condemned on Thursday what they considered excessive police response to protests that left 19 wounded and four arrested during a protest in the Pacific port of Buenaventura, where there is a high concentration of Afro-Colombians.
Roadblocks (from bottom): Cauca; Belen de Umbria, Risaralda; Sucre