Nov 21, 2018

Mapuche: Chile Promises to Bring Justice to Young Indigenous Man Killed During Police Investigation

Amid the protests that have followed the death of Camilo Catrillanca, the grandson of a Mapuche indigenous leader, during a police operation on Wednesday 14 November 2018, Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera has promised to spare no means to find justice for the case. Although the police has claimed Catrillanca was accidently shot in the head, there are no clear indications of who has fired the fatal shot. As Mr Piñera has stated his intention to solve the conflict with the Mapuche, he has also invested in anti-terrorist initiatives, having deployed a special force trained in Colombia in the Mapuche area, an initiative criticised by human rights groups who have further observed that the killing of Catrillanca might enhance tensions in the region.

The article below was published by the BBC:

Chile's President Sebastián Piñera has promised a thorough investigation after a young indigenous man was fatally shot by police.

The incident on Wednesday sparked protests in an area in the country's south, which is marked by tensions over land ownership.

Police said Camilo Catrillanca, 24, was accidentally shot in the head during an operation against local car thieves.

Mr Catrillanca was a grandson of a Mapuche indigenous leader.

He was driving a tractor in a rural area when he was hit by the bullet. It is not clear who fired the shot.

"The government will spare no means to get to the truth of what happened, and has requested the exclusive deployment of a prosecutor to this case," Mr Piñera tweeted.

The incident happened in Araucanía region, in southern Chile, where Mapuche activists have clashed with logging companies and farmers.

Since returning to power last year, Mr Piñera vowed to prioritise solving the centuries-old conflict with the Mapuche.

He promised to invest in the region's infrastructure and also to tackle terrorism.

A special force, trained in the Colombian rainforest and known as the Jungle Command, had been deployed in the area.

Opposition politicians and human rights groups have criticised the use of the special force against ordinary criminals.

They say the incident will fuel further tension in the region.

Following Mr Catrillanca's death, there were protests in the capital, Santiago, and incidents in the Araucanía region, where a church was set on fire and farmers were attacked.