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Clashes in Colombia leave indigenous people wounded

Confusing events involving indigenous people, police and civilians leave eight wounded

Laura Gamba   | 10.05.2021
Clashes in Colombia leave indigenous people wounded

BOGOTA, Colombia

At least eight indigenous people were wounded on Sunday after armed civilians opened fire on them in Cali, Colombia, authorities say.

The Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC) reported that at around 2 p.m. local time, a group of indigenous people (collectively known as Minga) who were demonstrating on the outskirts of Cali, was attacked by a "mob together with the public forces," who were trying to remove a blockade in the south of the city.

Videos circulating on social media show people dressed as civilians shooting at the indigenous people, who claim that they were attacked by people allegedly backed by the police. Authorities accuse members of the Minga of shooting in residential areas, breaking into some houses and destroying cars.

The minga has contradicted this version saying the indigenous people of Cauca reject armed violence, to the point that their own guards only carry a baton, but never firearms.

Colombian President Ivan Duque called on the indigenous groups not to participate in protests on Sunday after a group of indigenous people was attacked during a demonstration in Cali.

"In order to avoid unnecessary clashes I would like to call on CRIC to go back to their reservations," Duque said on Twitter.

Some indigenous people have been blocking roads in Colombia as part of the National Strike, which completes 13 days on Monday.

People are lining up to buy gasoline at a gas station during a fuel shortage in Cali. Blockades have also caused shortages of food and medical supplies in the city.

Duque had refused to travel to Cali to meet with indigenous organizations unless the blockade was first lifted. The president ended up traveling in the morning to Cali, to hold a security council.

According to a joint report by the NGO Temblores and Indepaz, 47 killings have been reported during the National Strike. Of these cases, 35 occurred in Cali.

International organizations such as the UN Human Rights Office in Colombia rejected the attacks and called for an investigation to find those responsible.

Protests started in Colombia against a now-shelved tax reform bill.

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