A Colombian Indigenous group is being targeted by armed group the Oliver Sinisterra Front, headed by the man known as 'El Guacho,' the Indigenous People's Unit (Unipa) said.
The community of Awa in Nariño has been attacked, received death threats and been approached about possible recruitment by the rogue guerrilla group allegedly behind Ecuador's recent border bombings, kidnappings and multiple murders, including the killing of three staff from Ecuadorean newspaper El Comercio earlier this year.
"This situation puts us on alert of the serious conditions that are happening in the area due to the presence and actions of these illegal armed groups... which puts us in the middle of a conflict which does not belong to us, and there are no guarantees of security and protection on the part of the institutions responsible for the issue," the Unipa said.
As early as June 3, the community has been under attack by the armed group on several occasions and one of its leaders was intercepted by paramilitaries while leaving the area. Though his vehicle was seriously damaged, the social leader escaped unharmed.
"We demand legal and illegal armed groups respect our territory, our ancestral traditions and Indigenous peoples, and not involve our communities in their war, as well as respect the lives of the owners of the ancestral Awa territory," the native community said, calling on the state to intervene.
The Oliver Sinisterra Front kidnapped three staff from Ecuador's El Comercio newspaper in March and later executed them when the Ecuadorean government failed to meet their demands. They later kidnapped a young Ecuadorean couple, but news of their plight has been almost non-existent.