Four Injured in Air Force Bombing in Northern Colombia

Feb 2, 2010

Four Injured in Air Force Bombing in Northern Colombia

An Indigenous group in Northern Colombia that suffered a bomb attack on Sunday is claiming that the bombing is linked to the interests of a US mining company.

In a communiqué, the Association of Indigenous Councils of Antioquia (OIA) explain that in the early morning of January 30 after flyovers and shootings from an airplane, bombs were dropped from a helicopter, one of which hit a house occupied by five people in the town of Alto Guayabal. Four people were injured, including a 20-day-old baby.

The OIA claim that the bombing may be linked to community resistance to mining exploration.

"The resistance of the communities located in the reserve and the areas of the mining project has brought  attention and harassment by the Muirel (sic) Mining Corporation and the army on various occasions," reads the release from the OIA.

The Colombian Air Force claimed that there were no civilans in the area, only members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

"In the area there was no (Indigenous) homes. In the area there was a corn storage area where 25 FARC terrorists were hidden," Air Force General Jorge Ballesteros told journalists yesterday. His words ring hollow after the "false positives" scandal, where thousands of civilians killed by the army were later dressed up to look like guerrillas.

Denver Colorado based Muriel Mining is involved in a joint venture with Rio Tinto to develop an gold mining project in the Murindó reserve, occupied by Indigenous Embera and Afro Colombian people. The project has already come under fire for neglecting prior government consultation with local commnunities, for the militarization of the region, and for ongoing deforestation.

In February 2009, 1,500 community members from this area joined together in the first popular referendum against mining in Colombia and voted "no" to the proposed mining project in their territory.