Colombia indigenous group launches revolt
18 Jul 2012 | Indigenous Nasa villagers, caught in crossfire between government and FARC rebels, force soldiers off hilltop position.
Indigenous villagers in a remote section of Colombia have launched a revolt against the government, saying they are fed up being caught in the crossfire of the nation’s long-running conflict between the government and opposition fighters.
Villagers in the town of Toribio forcibly removed soldiers from a strategic hilltop post on Tuesday.
Several hundred of the Nasa villagers massed against six soldiers guarding the hilltop, a week after 100 homes were destroyed in fighting between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC.
Al Jazeera’s Alessandro Rampietti, reporting from Toribio, said the villagers faced a difficult battle as they fended off the soldiers with rocks and sticks.
A soldier fired about 10 shots into the air in frustration, but no one was seriously hurt.
The 115,000-strong Nasa have stepped up their campaign in the past week in the southwestern state of Cauca to try to force government troops and guerrilla fighters to leave them alone.
Our correspondent said the villagers have seen 500 attacks in Toribio over the last 10 years.
The turbulent region is a corridor for cocaine smuggling.