Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Indigenous Peoples: Colombia - indigenous leader tortured, killed

Missionary International Service News Agency (MISNA) - Investigations were opened on a national and local level into the circumstances of the killing over the weekend of Efrain Antonio Basilio, a top figure of the Zenù indigenous community.

Basilio went missing on Friday and was found on Saturday night by some farmers in an isolated area of Sampues, in the northern department of Sucre. According to the local media, the body of the activist – also a traditional doctor and Secretary of the regional council of the Zenù of Cordoba and Sucre – was found with evident signs of torture.

Though there are still no official versions, indigenous sources believe that his murder was linked to land issues. The United Nations in December had asked the Colombian government to step up security measures in protection of the indigenous communities; based on statistics gathered until October 2009, at least 94 natives were killed in unclear circumstances, with a 64% increase in respect to 2008

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