According to the Secretary General of the National Indigenous Organization in Colombia (ONIC), there have been more than 100 assassinations of indigenous people so far in 2010.
Luis Fernando Arias said that the increased violence against indigenous communities in the southwest of Colombia is due to the different groups fighting to take control of the land in which the people inhabit.
“The situation will continue to be complicated in the departments of Cauca and Nariño, and this worries us because the armed conflict today is developing in our territories,” Arias said. “The presence of the State has been a military one, but, of course, the militarization that it generates includes much more vulnerability [for our communities].”
Murders in 2010 include those of indigenous councillor Ramiro Inampues and his wife Maria Lina Galindez in the department Nariño in late August. The couple disappeared after Inampues attended a meeting of the Guachucal municipal council where he represents the Social Indigenous Alliance (ASI) party, and were later found dead in a ditch near a school being built for indigenous rights.
The ONIC works to defend indigenous autonomy over their lands, control of area natural resources and protect history, culture and traditions of indigenous people in Colombia.