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COLOMBIA
Attacks against indigenous nomads
Latinamerica Press
3/27/2008
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The Nukak, one of the last nomadic Amazonian tribes, involved in Colombia´s armed conflict.

The Nukak, one of the last nomadic Amazonian tribes, has become tragically involved in Colombia´s armed conflict, an international indigenous defense organization warns.

In a March 12 statement, Survival International said that the Nukak — who move between the Guaviare and Inirida Rivers in eastern Colombia — “have been bombed by the Colombian army in its attempt to fight the guerrillas who have violently taken control of much of the Nukak land.”

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the largest guerrilla group in the country, recently killed a Nukak man who had fled the zone in 2004 “after a conflict between the army, guerrillas and paramilitaries fighting for control of the lucrative coca crop, the raw material for cocaine.”

According to Survival, the Nukaks´ land is “eyed up as a potential site for palm oil plantations for biofuel, and for its known petroleum reserves.”
The Nukak´s contact with the outside world began in 1988, after which more than half of them died.

The conflict that has extended over their territory is on the rise and since 2003, more and more Nukak are fleeing from their land. However, the recent violence has come right when many Nukak are trying to return to their lands, expecting the fighting to have dwindled.

“It´s appalling that the Nukak, one of the few surviving nomadic tribes in the Amazon, are being engulfed by fighting which has nothing to do with them,” said Survival´s director, Stephen Corry. “Literally, hundreds of them have died in the last twenty years – partly from disease, and partly from being caught in the violent warfare which now surrounds them. Both sides in this conflict seem prepared to sacrifice the Nukak for their own ends.”


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