Colombian indigenous leader Lisandro Tenoria was killed in Caucas Province on Sunday. The leader of the Nasa tribe was shot dead by unidentified gunmen amid mounting tension between the Nasa and the Farc.
Tenoria’s wife claims the leader was murdered on Sunday by three men who came to his house, shook his hand and then shot him three times in the head. He had been calling for an exit of Farc and security forces from the Caucus Province.
The province is a Farc stronghold and the area has been home to violent clashes between Colombian security forces and the rebel group as well as the Nasa.
The representative of the Organización Nacional Indígenas de Colombia (ONIC), James Yatacue condemnded the crime and claimed the conflict between guerrillas and armed forces has “cornered the native community.”
Tenoria has been the spiritual leader for the Nasa indigenous community of Lopez Adentro for more than thirty years. He had been consistently threatened by members of the Farc, according to relatives and close sources.
Last month Tenoria re-iterated calls for rebels, paramilitaries and police to exit Nasa land in the Caucus province and the Nasa publicly punished three men who had moved across to the Farc. The men were publicly whipped, in accordance with Nasa law.
Since these events, tensions between the Nasa and the Farc have been running high. Earlier this month the ONIC released a document estimating 9,000 people have been forced from their homes and a total of 54 native peoples killed throughout the country since January 2012.
About 15,000 members of the Nasa and other indigenous groups from the region are currently gathered in La Maria, in Cauca province, for a tribal meeting but no conclusion has yet been reached. Interior Minister Federico Renjifo has said that talks are still taking place.