Sarayaku, Ecuador: Military members detained by Indigenous group are released

Posted on December 21, 2016 • Filed under: Conflicts, Crime, Ecuador, Latin America Indigenous Issues, Police/Military Activity reported one Shuar Indigenous community attempted to take over a mining company by force, killing one police officer, injuring five, and abducting 11 officers.

Eleven members of the Ecuadorean military were released after one Indigenous group abducted them as part of a violent conflict which broke out last week between members of the community and a Chinese mining company in the Amazon rainforest.

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon, Confeniae, rejected the acts of violence and called on several Indigenous communities to act in a peaceful manner.

“The death of an Ecuadorean hurts all Ecuadoreans who love peace,” said Felipe Tsenkush Chamik, president of Confeniae.

In a statement signed by members of different Indigenous communities in the country, the group said they’ve had several conflicts with mining companies before, but have always acted within the parameters of Ecuadorean law.

“We have never adopted criminal attitudes to demand respect for our collective rights,” reads the statement, which claims the Shuar group responsible has been subject to political manipulation.

The statement points out that what happened last week “denigrates the image of the warrior man of the Shuar,” which although one tribe has multiple groups living in disparate areas of the country, from the Amazon to the lowlands of the Andes.

There are strong divisions within the Indigenous movement of Ecuador. One side favors the Ecuadorean government of President Rafael Correa, and have participated in the rewriting of laws and the reforming of the constitution to include unprecedented rights for nature. Other groups have been strongly influenced by the right-wing opposition in the country.

A group of citizens in another community, called Sarayaku, said they had “isolated” 11 soldiers because they “circulated in an unusual way along the shores of Sarayaku Village on the Bobonaza River,” before later releasing them.


A policeman was killed and five were injured last week in a recent attack on the mining camp of San Carlos de Tanantza, operated by Chinese company Explorcobres, in the south-central province of Morona Santiago.

On Wednesday afternoon, a report by security officials said that a group of 80 people fired at a group of police officers who were guarding the camp. Ecuadorean authorities confirmed the arrest of six people allegedly involved in the attack.

President Rafael Correa declared a state of emergency in Morona Santiago and Diego Fuentes, Minister of the Interior, said all measures have been taken to ensure the safety of the population. Read Article

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