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Colombia's Awá indigenous people become target of violent political faction
In an event that has highlighted the often precarious position of indigenous peoples, the recent killing of indigenous community members in Colombia has elicited fierce condemnation from around the world. On 11 February 2009, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) released a statement, posted on a website regularly used by the rebel group, proclaiming that 8 members from the indigenous Awá community had been executed after "all eight men admitted they had been working with the army for two years…"
In an International Herald Tribune article by Frank Bajak for the Associated Press, Colombian army chief Gen. Freddy Padilla is quoted as denying that there was any Awá involvement in military operations. "Not a single peso has been paid to the Awa — nor were the Indians used as informants about rebel movements”, Gen. Padilla told The Associated Press by telephone.
There are further allegations that the number of those killed maybe as many as 28 members of the Awá community, including women and children.
Many organizations concerned with indigenous rights and livelihoods have released statements condemning the killings. A few can be found below:
Posted By Lopaka Purdy at 9:30am on February 23, 2009
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