Boiling point reached as ethnic tension continues in southwest Colombia

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Indigenous groups have been hostile towards negotiations on their rights and the end of violence between the government and the native residents in Popayan, stating that they would take over the city should the government fail to proceed to an agreement.

The Colombian government has been optimistic about the negotiations between them and the indigenous groups in the region. However, indigenous leader Neis Oliverio Lame had stated their plans to take over Popayan and abandon all peace talks should the government fail to give them their demand for respect and freedom of expression, including their right to protest. The indigenous groups have continued their protest despite the restraining of the militia in the region. They have expressed their ire over the violence that has been going on, which the national indigenous organization, ONIC, had said that such had been orchestrated by business sectors and politicians in the region. There were incidents on rage from anti-indigenous groups making violent actions toward indigenous officers, men in duty, and other civilians who were deemed as part of ethnic groups in the province of Cauca. As of today, nine indigenous individuals and two students were reported to have died in the ongoing rivalry.

Patricia Gutierrez, the Interior Minister, had been expressive towards her desire for action to come up to a solution that is agreeable to both parties. She said that the actions involve integrating indigenous groups into the development plan of the government. She had also stated that this amendment would be finalized by Thursday. ONIC, however, had been repeatedly reminding the government that, until no actions from the government would bring peace to this impunity, the indigenous Colombians and afro-Colombian communities would continue to fear for their lives.

Many indigenous communities have joined in the rally in hopes of airing our their sentiments over the inequality and in hopes of achieving peace in their native land.

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