Armed Group Kills Indigenous Man in Aldama, Population Reports Use of Explosives

Entrance to Aldama. Photo: Ángeles Mariscal

By Ángeles Mariscal

Lorenzo Gómez Ruiz was murdered this Monday morning in the municipality of Aldama.  The Tsotsil indigenous man was shot in the right side when he was on his way to his farm in the Stzelejpotobtic community. The attack occurred in the context of the increasing number of armed attacks against the population of this municipality, where the population reports the use of explosives against them.

Since January 5, residents of Aldama denounced to the government of Chiapas that inhabitants of Santa Martha, Chenalhó -who demand possession of 60 hectares of Aldama’s land- crossed the boundaries that divide both municipalities, and detonated explosives inside the coffee plantations.

“On January 5th, 6th and 7th of this year, these armed groups crossed the territorial border and entered the community of Ch’ivit and detonated bombs and damaged coffee plants and different plants,” they stated in a letter they [residents of Aldama] made public, after notifying the state and federal governments of the aggressions, and showing images with traces of the explosives in the fields.

On Sunday, January 9, shots continued to be fired in various parts of Aldama, in the town of Xuxch they hit Javier Hernández de la Torre, 32 years of age, when he was on his way to his coffee plantation with his family.

“The high caliber shots fired by armed groups came from the point of attack of T’elemax belonging to Santa Martha Chenalho,” they denounced. The wounded man, a member of the support base of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), was taken to a clinic in the municipality of San Juan Chamula.

This Monday, around 10:00 a.m., the shots – which according to the population have been intermittent – wounded Lorenzo Gómez Ruiz. The young indigenous man died while being taken to a hospital.

“Every day the aggressions continue, it is the proof of the incompetence and ungovernability in our state and in our Mexico, even having set up the working group with the three governments, signatures and more signatures on agreements, and the rounds made by the National Guard, Navy and State Preventive Police have NOT served for at all,” said the villagers.

They said in their public denunciation that the armed group of Santa Marta Chenalhó acts with impunity “because the same government allows and finances them. The paramilitaries have uniforms, equipment, weapons and parks obtained with the money they receive from the bad government”.

They explained that the aggressions allegedly derive from the dispute over 60 hectares of land between Aldama and Chenalhó, but Aldama has already ceded 27 hectares of land and signed pacification agreements, and yet the aggressions over several years have not stopped.

This artile was published on January 10th, 2022 in Chiapas Paralelo.
English translation by Schools for Chiapas.

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