María Nelly Bernal Andrade, community member and member of the Pueblo Pastos indigenous guards, was murdered while on her way home in the municipality of Samaniego, Nariño.
Luis Eusebio Cadena, governor of the indigenous council confirmed that the Public Prosecutor’s Office were aware of the case but that there was no more information on how or why she was murdered. “Sadly we know what is happening all over the country,” he said regarding the murders of social leaders and human rights defenders in Colombia.
“We are very sad for the loss of a member of our indigenous council,” Cadena said, adding that there was still no indication of who was responsible for the crime. However, he did note that the ELN are present in the area and he confirmed that although the indigenous council had not experienced violence, the most complicated situation was in the municipality of Samaniego, located three hours from the indigenous reservation.
According to the Institute for Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz) between 2016 and December 2018, 49 social leaders and human rights defenders have been murdered in Nariño.