3 Guatemalan indigenous leaders killed in separate incidents
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Three Guatemalan indigenous leaders have been killed in separate incidents over the past week.
The Altiplano Farmworker Committee said Monday the most recent victim was Mateo Chaman Paau, a leader of that organization.
The group’s statement said that Chaman Paau was killed Sunday night in the township of Coban, north of the capital. It said he had received threats related to his work.
Another member of the organization, Jose Can Xol, was killed Thursday in the Alta Verapaz area. The group said gunmen had come to the community to intimidate residents.
A day earlier, Luis Marroquin, a leader of the Farmworker Development Committee was killed in a bookstore in the Jalapa department.
Marroquin’s group accused President Jimmy Morales of stirring a violent response against them. Morales had blamed one of the group’s protests for the death of a boy. Morales’ spokesman Heinz Heimann denied Morales had sparked attacks on the group.
Both groups have historically fought mining and hydroelectric projects that threaten their areas. They also fight for land rights and have accused powerful forces of pushing indigenous farmers off their lands.
Vitoria Tauli, who is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, expressed concern last week about the vulnerability of Guatemala’s indigenous.
Julia Barrera, spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, said all three cases were under investigation.