At Least Six Dead In Violent Attack Against Indigenous Community in Nicaragua and Ten Nature Defenders Abducted

Tropical rainforest in Nicaragua during morning sunrise time. Getty Images

By  - 30. January 2020

A group of 80 armed men violently sought to overtake Alal, a Mayagna territory in Nicaragua’s Bosawás Biosphere Reserve – the third-largest forest reserve in the world. They burned several homes, killed at least six people and kidnapped another ten in what is the first reported case of encroachment on indigenous Nicaraguan land of 2020.

Amaru Ruiz, director of Fundación del Río – an organization that fights for the conservation of the lands and peoples of southern Nicaragua – spoke to La Prensa on Wednesday and referred to the invaders as colonists.

“These are colonists invasions that happen often in Bosawás and Indio Maíz. There’s conflict because indigenous communities resist the call to leave their territories,” Ruiz said. “Invaders and colonists come to try to remove them and occupy the land.”

The Mayagna community reportedly makes up 0.5% of Nicaragua’s population and is one of at least seven indigenous peoples of the country.

Although Nicaragua is considered one of the least violent countries in Central America, deforestation and invasion with the intent of forced displacement have been prevalent issues for the Central American country’s most vulnerable and marginalized communities for the last decade.

In 2015, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ordered Nicaragua to look into the rise in killings and violent attacks. On Thursday, they responded to the attack by urging the government to act and protect the rights of indigenous communities.

#CIDH condena ataque de colonos a comunidad Mayagna, Bosawás, #Nicaragua: hay 6 comunitarios asesinados y 10 desaparecidos. El Estado incumple obligaciones internacionales de proteger integridad, vida y territorios indígenas si no previene, investiga y castiga estos hechos. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/a1LvPNftUV

— CIDH – IACHR (@CIDH) January 30, 2020

“The nation isn’t following its international obligation to protect the integrity, life and territories of indigenous communities if it doesn’t prevent, investigate and punish these acts,” they wrote.

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Massacre leaves six indigenous people dead at Nicaraguan nature reserve

  • Shooting of Mayangnas believed linked to land dispute
  • Settlers have been encroaching on protected Bosawás area

Reuters - 

The Bosawás Biosphere Reserve contains one of the largest areas of rainforest in the Americas.

The Bosawás Biosphere Reserve contains the second-largest area of rainforest in the Americas. Photograph: Morgan Arnold/Getty Images

Six indigenous people have been killed and other 10 kidnapped after scores of armed men raided an isolated Nicaraguan nature reserve in an attack linked to raging land disputes.

About 80 attackers stormed a Mayangna commune about 500km (310 miles) north of capital Managua, deep in the north-central Bosawás Biosphere Reserve, the second-largest rainforest in the Americas after the Amazon.

The raiders were part of a group of non-indigenous “settlers” in the area, according to a Mayangna lawyer from the region.

“They wanted to subjugate the men and shot to death six people,” Mayangna lawyer Larry Salomon told Reuters by phone.

Animosity has been growing over the past decade between Nicaragua’s indigenous communities and settlers who move to indigenous areas in search of cheap, fertile land, as well as timber and gold, according to activists.

“This is a land conflict. They want our lands for cattle farming and to destroy our forests,” Salomon added.

Salomon said a delegation made up of Nicaraguan army, police and the municipal government was on the way to the reserve to investigate the attack.

The government did not respond to a request for comment.

With only about 30,000 people spread across the country, Mayangna make up about 0.5% of Nicaragua’s population.

The Mayangna have been complaining since 2014 about living under siege from armed groups who are seizing their lands, and last year their leader said his people are facing an existential risk.

“They’re exterminating us little by little and the state is doing nothing,” Gustavo Lino, the highest-ranking Mayangna leader, said last year.

Nicaragua had been a world leader in the granting of land rights to native peoples. Indigenous communities gained autonomy in 1987 over their ancestral lands and a law was introduced in 2003 to allow indigenous people to apply for land titles.

But indigenous communities have more recently criticised the government for not doing enough to protect them and their way of life.

The Bosawás Biosphere Reserve, renowned for its biodiversity, is a treasure-trove of rare and endangered species. It hosts one of the world’s last populations of Baird’s tapir and the Central American spider monkey, according to the United Nations.

Nicaragua: Six indigenous people reportedly killed in attack

30. January 2020

https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/660/cpsprodpb/79AF/production/_110715113_mediaitem110715112.jpg

The attack on the Mayagna group took place deep in jungle in Nicaragua - Image copyright Getty Images

Armed men have attacked an indigenous community in Nicaragua, killing at least six people and kidnapping another 10, rights groups say.

Police confirmed two deaths and said they were investigating. The reason for the difference in the toll is unclear.

The attack on the Mayagna group took place in a protected nature reserve in the north of the country.

The Bosawás Biosphere Reserve has been the focus of land disputes between indigenous groups and new settlers.

A Mayagna leader last year accused the government of doing nothing while his community was gradually "exterminated".

The men reportedly attacked the Mayagna commune deep inside the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve, the second-largest rainforest in the Americas after the Amazon.

Mayagna lawyer Larry Salomon told the Reuters news agency that the raiders were part of a group of non-indigenous "settlers" in the area.

"This is a land conflict. They want our lands for cattle farming and to destroy our forests," he added.

Environmental group the Rio Foundation called the attack a "massacre".

Tensions have been rising in recent years between Nicaragua's indigenous communities and newcomers who move to the region in search of fertile land, timber and gold. There have been reports of armed groups seizing indigenous land.

Gustavo Lino, the highest-ranking Mayagna leader, said last year: "They're exterminating us little by little and the state is doing nothing."

The 30,000-strong Mayagna make up around 0.5% of Nicaragua's population.

Deadly attack on indigenous community in Nicaragua

By AP - 30. January 2020

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Some 80 armed men attacked an indigenous community on Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean coast, killing several people, authorities said Thursday. Local leaders said there were six dead, while police said two died.

Gustavo Sebastián Lino, leader of the territorial government of Sauni As, said the attack occurred at dusk Wednesday in Alal, a community of the Mayangna people in the Bosawas biosphere reserve.

The attackers “seized the community, killed six people and burned several houses,” Lino said. Residents also reported the disappearance of at least 10 people, he said.

Lino described the attackers as “settlers” — farmers who have been accused of invading autonomous indigenous territories to illegally log their forests and convert them into pastures and fields.

They were armed with pistols, rifles and shotguns, he said.

“The situation has gotten serious,” he said. He demanded government assistance.

Nicaragua’s national police force said in a statement that it was investigating, but put the death toll at two. It said the victims were two men who both died from bullet wounds.

There was no immediate explanation for the discrepancy in death tolls.

Amaru Ruiz, director of the environmental Rio Foundation, confirmed the attack. He said there had been other attacks by settlers on Mayangna and Miskito peoples in the Caribbean coastal area and in another biosphere reserve near the Costa Rica border.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemned the attack and said the government failed to protect the indigenous peoples and their territory. It noted such attacks had been occurring for years and called on Nicaragua’s government to adopt policies “to protect the rights of indigenous peoples to life, integrity and territory.”

According to the Costa Rica-based Center for Justice and International Law, settlers were responsible for killings, kidnappings and assaults on indigenous communities in Nicaragua last year. It has warned that the attacks and encroachment have displaced thousands of people and threaten the continued survival of the people.

UPDATES:

6 Indigenous Leaders Killed in Nicaragua Biosphere Raid

By DN - 03. February 2020

H9 6 indigenous leaders killed nicaragua biosphere raid

Bosawás, Reserva Biósfera / Biosphere Reserve

In Nicaragua, six indigenous environmental leaders were assassinated last week after a group of at least 80 armed men raided the Bosawás Biosphere Reserve — the second-largest rainforest in the Americas after the Amazon. The attack is believed to be linked to raging land disputes between the local indigenous community and illegal loggers and miners who seek to exploit fertile land, timber and gold. Another 10 indigenous leaders were also kidnapped during the violent raid.

“He’s a Murderous Dictator”: Human Rights Advocate Bianca Jagger On Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega

Bianca Jagger photographs with a iPad after speaking at the 2014 re:publica conferences on digital society on May 6, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

By   - 03. February 2020

Bianca Jagger joined Spanish director and journalist Daniel Rodríguez Moya for a sit-down interview with France24 on Monday. The filmmaker’s latest, “Nicaragua, Patria Libre Para Vivir,” premieres tonight in Paris. Jagger gave it a brilliant review and took the opportunity to unleash a few thoughts.

The former actress and human rights advocate made full use of her speaking slots throughout the 9-minute appearance, touching on everything from “colonists’” massacre of indigenous communities to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s history as a Sandinista revolution leader and underreported updates from home.

“It’s worse,” Jagger said of the state of things at home after the protest movement took off in 2018. The 74-year-old fashion icon is keenly aware of the impact that year had around the world, yet disappointed by a steady decrease in coverage since.

“Since Evo Morales was ousted in Bolivia, Daniel Ortega realizes that that can happen in Nicaragua, so the repression has incremented,” she said.

Jagger has been vocal about her opinion on Ortega every chance she gets, joining protests, denouncing him on stage and using her platform to draw attention to the plight of her people.

The film’s purpose, according to Rodríguez, is to show how the peaceful protest movement grew, highlight its leaders and also show how Ortega and Rosario Murillo’s administration violated human rights. Jagger calls it a “critical” watch and boasts about its accuracy in capturing the country’s political climate.

“At this moment, when repression has increased in Nicaragua,” Jagger said. “It’s really important for people to be able to understand what’s happening… and for those who still believe and still look at Daniel Ortega [as] the leader that some of us supported in 1979 in the Sandinista revolution, to realize that he is a traitor – that he’s a murderous dictator and that people are being killed in Nicaragua as we speak.”

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February 2020
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