Awá Massacre Highlights Desperate Need for Fresh Approach to Drugs in Colombia


this month, a brutal massacre of Awá indigenous people left 27 dead in

Colombia’s southern Pacific region of Nariño. According to various

media sources, 17 were killed in an armed attack on February 4, during

which 120 community members were captured and held against their will.

Ten more were killed two days later. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of

Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group claimed responsibility for eight of the

killings in an online statement. The guerrillas described the murders

as acts of retaliation against the Awá for cooperating with Colombian

Military forces, but confusion and fake information may also have

played a role, and several sides share the guilt.

According to a statement released by the Awá People’s Indigenous Unity (UNIPA) and the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia

(ONIC), on February 1, a military battalion “abusively entered people’s

homes and, through various mistreatments, obligated members of the

community to give information about the location of the FARC-EP

guerrillas.” Three days later, the FARC began their horrendous attacks in “retaliation.”

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This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Fellow Mary Tharin

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