After Colombian soldiers were expelled by indigenous leaders from the Cauca region yesterday, President Juan Manuel Santos announced that he plans to investigate the occurrences and bring these leaders to trial. He called yesterday’s incidents “unacceptable” and asked the local community to cease all violent actions, according to Télam.
In protest of the violent conflict taking place between the Colombian military and members of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the area, the indigenous community in Cauca dismantled barricades built by both the army and the FARC. Members of the community also pushed out a few soldiers who were guarding antennas. Army and government officials believe such actions constitute a serious attack against the military and that indigenous leaders responsible should be brought to trial.
President Santos did acknowledge, on the other hand, that the real enemy of the Colombian forces is the FARC and that his administration respects indigenous communities, Military officials do not seem to agree – General Jorge Jerez stated that the “guerrillas of FARC and the indigenous are working together to remove troops,” as reported by Pulsar News Agency.
Indigenous authorities denied such accusations and submitted a public letter to the FARC asking them to remove their troops from the territory. The letter told FARC that “we do not need your presence because the guerrilla does not bring us peace; you attack our civilians, you disrespect our authority and our justice,” as quoted in Télam.