Colombia's main indigenous group calls demo over murders

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Bogota (AFP)

Colombia's main indigenous organization denounced on Wednesday the "bloodletting" of its people by drug traffickers and called for a national demonstration to protest against the murder of one of their leaders and four guards.

Leaders of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) said its people were being "persecuted, murdered and massacred."

Tuesday's attack is believed to have been carried out by dissident FARC guerrillas who rejected the historic 2016 peace deal with the government that ended a half-century of armed conflict.

"We call all of Colombian society to stand up in defense of life, rights and territories," said Luis Fernando Arias, a top ONIC adviser, at a press conference in Bogota.

The indigenous group expects to march alongside unions, peasants and students on November 21 during a strike against the government's policies.

The ONIC will also seek an "extraordinary visit" from the Inter American Commission on Human Rights and the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.

The organization wants to highlight its "situation of humanitarian, social and economic urgency," and called on Colombia President Ivan Duque to "end the bloodletting" stemming from the indigenous communities rejecting drug traffickers demands to take part in the illicit trade.

Community leader Nasa Cristina Bautista and four members of the indigenous guard were killed by rebels in an area of Cauca department in the southwest that is under indigenous jurisdiction.

ONIC says 123 indigenous people have been murdered since Duque came to power in August 2018.