A member of the Mapuche community in Argentina’s Rio Negro Province has been shot dead by police, judicial sources confirmed Saturday.
The shooting of 21-year-old Rafael Nahuel took place on top of a mountain, near a National Parks-owned property that had been violently evicted by the authorities last Thursday on the orders of federal judge Gustavo Villanueva.
Two other members of the evicted Lof Lafken Winkul Mapu community, in Villa Mascardi, were wounded by bullets fired by security forces, resumenlatinoamericano.org reported.
According to Mapuche leader Moira Millan, along with the tragic death of Nahuel, many people suffered injuries while others remain unaccounted for.
The Network of Support to Communities in Conflict (MAP), an organization that brings together Mapuche groups, immediately took to social media to denounce the police’s actions.
One of the wounded was hit by a bullet in the abdomen, the other in the shoulder, MAP said in a statement. The exact nature of the deceased’s injuries has not yet been disclosed. None of the three victims have so far been formally identified.
The confrontation took place when about a dozen ‘weichafes’ (warriors), who had been in hiding, were located by police at the property, located about 35km from Bariloche.
Police officials released a statement saying that "First there were stones and then there was a shoot-out between the security forces and the Mapuche, with a total of three wounded members of the community, whose seriousness it has not been possible to specify."
As of 6:30 p.m. local time on Saturday, police officers had closed National Route 40, which leads to Villa Mascardi.