(Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN volunteer translator)
February 19, 2008
The Cabildo Mayor [Governing Council] of the Indigenous Reservations of Murindó and Chajeradó, together with the Life, Justice and Peace Commission of the Diocese of Quibdó, worried about the critical situation of the indigenous communities in the region, direct this communiqué to regional, national and international public opinion.
On February 8 at 3:30 in the afternoon, in the community La Isla, located within the Embera-Katío Reservation of the Río Murindó, which belongs to the municipality of Murindó in the department of Antioquia, Colombia, a large military airplane appeared that flew over the communities of Coredó and La Isla. Shortly thereafter two super fast warplanes appeared, machine-gunning and bombing the area of the cemetery of both communities, creating panic among the civilian population. The bombs destroyed part of the cemetery and fruit trees. In the cemetery, a crater was left that had a diameter of four meters and a depth of two meters. One tomb was left totally destroyed, which amounts to a profanation of a sacred place and deeply wounds the religious feelings of the indigenous people. Two bombs fell at a distance of barely 200 meters from a house. The force of the explosion threw the inhabitants to the ground, a woman was left deaf and all the animals belonging to the house fled for the hills. Because of the smoke from the bombs, a year and a half-old girl was choking and vomiting and had to be hospitalized in Murindó. The bombs and machine-gun bursts put the lives of men, women and children who were fishing and hunting in the area in grave danger.
The same area was bombed on July 22, 2007. On that occasion, a hectare of cultivated land was destroyed.
We reject the violations of our right to life, guaranteed in the Constitution, and our right to our territory, and we demand of the government authorities that they take measures and effectively guarantee our rights and our ability to carry out our activities in our territories according to our methods and customs.
We demand of the armed forces that they not continue bombing, nor carry out combats in our territory in order not to put our lives in danger.
We say that the war that is being waged in our territory is not ours, so there is no reason or justification for bombing or having combats in our reservations. We indigenous people do not want war, we want to live in peace.
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621