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Journalist and indigenous activist assassinated

(FLIP/IFEX) - Journalist and indigenous community leader Rodolfo Maya Aricape was murdered on 14 October 2010. The incident occurred in the rural area of Caloto, in Cauca. Maya was at home with his wife and seven-year-old daughter when two men burst in and shot him a number of times.

Maya was the secretary of the López Adentro council and also worked for the Payumat radio station, where he reported on the conditions in his community.

According to council members, Maya's murder is linked to graffiti that appeared 15 days ago, which referred to the indigenous leader as a member of the guerrilla group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).

Jorge Arias, a councillor and member of the Association of Indigenous Councils in Norte del Cauca (ACÍN), told FLIP that Maya was both a leader in the community and that he fought for the community's rights via his work at the radio station. He was involved with one of the schools in ACÍN's Communications Network. The members of this school are responsible for providing information on the various indigenous councils via different media, such as the Communications Network website and community-based radio stations.

Arias believes that Maya's murder is linked to both his work as a journalist and as a secretary of the indigenous council. FLIP cannot say with any certainty if the attack is linked to the indigenous leader's journalistic work, since all of ACÍN's local leaders are involved in the network's community-based media as part of their activism. Nevertheless, FLIP calls for an investigation that should clarify if the murder was connected to Maya's journalistic work.

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