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article imageTwo murders of Colombian indigenous leaders in a single day

By AFP     Dec 8, 2018 in World

Two indigenous leaders have been killed in Colombia in under 24 hours, officials said Saturday, as a rights group warned aboriginals have increasingly been targeted since the country's right-wing president took office.

Edwin Dagua, 28, an indigenous leader on the Huellas reserve in Caloto, Cauca department, was shot dead Friday, a source from the association of town councils in the region told AFP.

"He was a very prominent leader for defending the communities, for demanding respect from the armed actors towards the territory," the source said.

Just hours later, in a nearby area, another indigenous was murdered in similar circumstances, although there is still no detailed information on his death, the source said.

And again just hours later, indigenous Awa governor Lidia Gomez was targeted early Saturday -- but she was not harmed.

The National Indigenous Organization charged that since conservative President Ivan Duque took office August 7, violence against their leaders has surged.

"With regard to the government of President Duque (...), the indigenous peoples of Colombia denounce and reject the systematic strategy of extermination, even in times of peace," ONIC said in a December 5 statement.

Duque has acknowledged the increase in homicides targeting human rights activists and pledged to implement measures to prevent them, under pressure from the communities.

According to figures from the Ombudsman's Office, between January 1, 2016 and June 30 311 social leaders were murdered; so in this period of time, every three days a leader has been killed.

Though the disarmament of the FARC communist guerrillas diminished the intensity of the Colombian armed conflict, many mostly indigenous zones continue to be besieged by rebels of the ELN (National Liberation Army), FARC splinter groups, paramilitaries and drug traffickers.

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