Indigenous guards in the southwest of Colombia have detained 27 soldiers following the murder of a former governor of a local reserve.
The Indigenous Regional Council of Cauca (CRIC) announced on Tuesday that former governor Alfredo Bolaños was murdered on Monday night when he arrived at his home on the Purace Reserve.
According to the indigenous organization, the detained members of the national army are possibly responsible for the murder.
The CRIC and the indigenous guard reportedly investigated the murder of Bolaños who allegedly had “no known type of problem” that may have provoked his assassination.
“The only foreigners in the community who have been near the location of the crime, are the personnel of the national army assigned to the 29th Brigade,” reported the CRIC based on claims made by the indigenous authorities of the Purace Reserve.
The military detainees are being held in the town hall of Purace under the indigenous law that allows indigenous communities to maintain order in their own territory, where their weapons will be inspected ahead of the preliminary hearing before the indigenous authorities, according to El Colombiano newspaper.
“In light of the circumstances, the indigenous people of Cauca reject and condemn the assasination of the former governor Alfredo Bolaños and we make an urgent call to the Prosecutor General, the Prosecutor General’s Office and other national and international organizations defending human rights, so that they can investigate this murder carefully, and determine who are responsible and punish them properly, so that this crime will not join the hundreds of murders of indigenous people in Cauca in impunity,” said the CRIC in their press release on Tuesday.
Indigenous groups in Cauca have long resisted Colombia’s 51-year-long war and have in the past detained both members of the National Army and alleged members of guerrilla group FARC.