Indigenous social leader murdered in Colombia’s Pacific region

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File – File image of protests against the murder of social leaders in Colombia. – DANIEL ROMERO / VWPICS / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOT

Ariel Danilo Majin, the coordinator of the Indigenous Guardia in the reservation of the municipality of Soratá, Cauca, in the Colombian Pacific, has been murdered in what is the first death of a Colombian social leader in the month of December after eleven murders during the previous month.

Majin had been missing since November 24. On December 2 his lifeless body was found in a rural area of the municipality of Policarpa, in northern Nariño, reported the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz).

The deceased was the coordinator of the Tulpaz cabildo, which is part of the Río Blanco reservation. The last time he was seen alive he had indicated to his relatives that he was going to Policarpa in search of work and until before noon on the day of his disappearance he was seen passing through the Tarabita sector, reported the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC).

«We call on the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the facts and justice is done. Defending life and territory should not cost us our lives. We alert Human Rights organizations and the National Government to take measures to safeguard and protect the integrity of the ancestral communities in the department of Cauca and Colombia», said the senator of the MAIS party (Moviento Alternativo Indígena Social) Aida Quilcué.

This is the second social leader to be murdered in Nariño in the last week, following the killing of journalist Wilder Alfredo Córdoba, director of the private channel La Unión Tv in the department of Nariño. Córdoba was killed by hired killers on the afternoon of Monday, November 28, according to the regional digital media Popayán Denuncia.

Indepaz has reported 179 murders of social leaders during 2022, an increase from the previous year, when 161 deaths were reported in the same timeframe. It has also reported 90 massacres so far this year, 28 of them since Gustavo Petro became Colombian President.